If you are strapped for cash or a student on a budget, London offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy free or cheap classical music in some fantastic venues. Here are some of the most popular:
St Martin-In-The Fields
Situated in Trafalgar Square this church is well- known for its classical music events. Lunchtime concerts, which take place on most Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, are free (no booking required) and showcase the talent of many up and coming musicians including students from the conservatoires. These concerts start at 1pm and last around 45 minutes. They are very popular so get there early!
If you want a good place to eat, the Café in the Crypt (actually located in the crypt of St Martin’s) is excellent.
St James’s Piccadilly
Again, this lovely church, virtually opposite The Royal Academy of Art, offers free lunchtime recitals every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting at 1.10 pm, with recitals lasting approximately 50 minutes. Just turn up on the day. There are also evening concerts at St James’s with tickets starting at around £10.
The Royal Opera House
With its newly refurbished area, The Linbury Theatre at The Royal Opera House hosts a variety of events including free lunchtime performances given by Royal Opera House artists and guest artists. The events start at 1pm and last about an hour. No tickets required.
Alternatively, you can experience an exciting programme of music in the opulent setting of the Crush Room. Recitals take place most Mondays. You will need to purchase tickets for these recitals (£10 – £12).
The Music Conservatoires:
The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal College of Music, The Guildhall School of Music, Trinity Laban (Greenwich).
There is a huge amount of free music events going on every week at the London conservatoires, from solo recitals, Masterclasses and orchestral concerts, incorporating music from baroque to opera. You will see some big names at the Masterclasses giving inspirational tuition to the students.
The Wigmore Hall
Situated in Wigmore Street, the beautiful Wigmore Hall offers anyone under 35 the chance to attend selected concerts for £5. The scheme, supported by Classic fm, requires you to register and create an account. There is also another series of concerts called Chamber Zone where young people aged between 8 – 25 can apply for free tickets to selected concerts. If you don’t fall within the age brackets of the previous two series of concerts, try out the Sunday Morning Concerts. Starting at 11.30 am on a Sunday, listen to an hour of world-class classical music. Tickets cost £16/£14 (concessions) and include a programme and coffee/sherry/juice.
The English Chamber Orchestra
Did you know that if you are a student you can get tickets for £6 to ECO concerts under their Student Ticket Scheme? The English Chamber Orchestra has a strong tradition of innovative programming and performing with great artists and musicians, together with emerging young talent. It’s a good opportunity to hear an amazing orchestra.
The Southbank Centre
Situated on the Southbank, near Waterloo station, the Southbank Centre offers a huge variety of events. One of its resident orchestras, the London Philharmonic, offers £5 best available tickets for full-time students, and £10 best available seats for 18-26 year olds, to selected concerts at The Royal Festival Hall. Check out and register for the NOISE scheme.