The Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Rainer Hersch with Alfred Brendel,
Nicola Benedetti, Evelyn Glennie, Lore Lixenberg and Paul Lewis.
Classic Relief - part of the Red Nose Day 2009 campaign - is the brainchild of musical comedian, Rainer Hersch, a man who has established an international reputation for putting leading orchestras through their comedy paces. Rainer Hersch says of Classic Relief, "We aim to make a significant amount of money for Red Nose Day 2009 and along the way show that classical music can be exciting and accessible to the widest possible audience. Our message is that classical music is for everyone."
For the Gala Comedy Concert at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, Rainer Hersch and The Philharmonia Orchestra will be joined by Alfred Brendel, Nicola Benedetti, Evelyn Glennie, Lore Lixenberg and Paul Lewis in an evening of affectionate swipes at some of the world's best-loved music. In the Manchester Gala performance, The Red Nose Consort of Musicians (aka the Royal Northern College of Music Symphony Orchestra) will welcome guests Piers Lane, Jennifer Pike and Lor Lixenberg, again under the baton of Rainer Hersch.
Best known for his BBC series All Classical Music Explained, Rainer Hersch has been poking fun at the quirky world of classical music since 1996. His whimsical approach has provided answers to those difficult questions How can you play instruments without practicing? Why is organ music so boring? and What do conductors actually do? Since 2001 he has combined his skills as a stand-up comedian, with his burgeoning career as a conductor, to present full comedy programmes with orchestras around the world including the Queensland Orchestra in Australia, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the St Petersburg Philharmonic - with whom he appeared in the Grand Hall of the Philharmonic, one of the great Soviet era concert halls.
The programme for Classic Relief will include Strauss's Pizzicato Polka "conducted by juggling"; The Four Seasons (abbreviated); Rossini's Overture to William Tell (ruined); plus a waltz "based on tunes from Windows XP" and a promise of a laugh every four bars.
All net profits from Classic Relief will be donated to Comic Relief raising an estimated 25,000. Tickets will be sold for prices ranging from 10 to 60.
Six tickets will also be available in the Royal Box at 120 each. In an additional comic twist, these will be matched by six excellent tickets costing just 1p - available only on the day to personal callers at Southbank Centre's box office.