From Germany, Anja Bihlmaier is Chief Conductor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague and appears with the Hallé for the first time. Beethoven tops and tails her programme, the Leonora Overture No.3, a compelling symphonic distillation of the human drama of his opera, Fidelio.

Ukrainian-British violist Maxim Rysanov also makes his Hallé concert debut. Described in Gramophone as ‘a prince among viola players’, he plays Bartók’s concerto, which inhabits the more mellow sound world of his later music. The hugely-distinguished South Korean composer Unsuk Chin was commissioned to write her subito con forza to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. In it she embeds various sly references to several of his works, making it the perfect curtain raiser to the Master’s sunny, genial Fourth Symphony.