Patricia Kopatchinskaja & Friends: Pierrot Lunaire

Sat 2 Dec, 4pm & Sun 3 Dec, 5.30pm
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Classical music
From £25
past event
past event
Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja as a clown in Shibuya City, Tokyo
Marco Borggreve

‘[Kopatchinskaja] approaches Schoenberg’s expressionist vocal gymnastics with the same fierce commitment and larger-than-life expressiveness that make her violin playing so extraordinary’

The Strad

The multi-talented violinist turns vocalist in the role of the moonstruck clown at the heart of Schoenberg’s expressionist masterpiece.

Pierrot Lunaire is a work that defies classification. Sometimes it’s described as a cabaret, while The Times called it ‘absurdist dreamscapes’.

Technically, it’s a cycle of 21 songs, written for chamber ensemble and a singer or reciter in ‘sprechgesang’: speech-singing, a style that extends both in directions neither could ever normally explore.

Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire sets 21 poems in German translation from the fantastical 50-poem cycle of the same name by Albert Giraud about Pierrot the clown and his obsession with the moon.

There has been nothing else quite like it, either before or since. Igor Stravinsky referred to the work as the ‘solar plexus... of early 20th-century music’.

With Patricia Kopatchinskaja at the helm, nothing can be predicted – except wide-eyed wonder and first-class musicianship.

Southbank Centre Resident Artist Kopatchinskaja first learned the vocalisations when she was suffering from tendonitis and temporarily could not play the violin.

It proved a resounding success and since 2015 it has been one of her signature works.

‘Pierrot! I am in your head! How strange it is in here – quite different from everyone else. Though you keep silent, your confused thoughts are dangerous – your vocal cords as taut and tense as my violin strings … Longing – that is your sound. Let’s disappear.’

Patricia Kopatchinskaja
  • Patricia Kopatchinskaja violin, voice
  • Meesun Hong Coleman violin
  • Thomas Kaufmann cello
  • Júlia Gállego flute
  • Reto Bieri clarinet
  • Joonas Ahonen piano
  • PatKop: FlügelnWund for violin & 8 loudspeakers
  • CPE Bach: Presto in C minor for keyboard, Wq.114/3 arr. PatKop
  • Schoenberg: Part 1 from Pierrot Lunaire for voice & ensemble, Op.21
  • Berio: Song for clarinet
  • Improvisation: Violin
  • Schoenberg: Part 2 from Pierrot Lunaire for voice & ensemble, Op.21
  • PatKop: Excerpts from Ghiribizzi (Whims)
  • Milhaud: Jeu for violin & clarinet from from Suite, Op.157b
  • Schoenberg: Part 3 from Pierrot Lunaire for voice & ensemble, Op.21

Need to know

Age recommendation

For ages 7+

Please note that there is no interval during this performance.

Dates & times

Sat 2 Dec, 4pm

Sun 3 Dec, 5.30pm

Approximate run time: 1 hour 5 mins.
Run times may vary by up to 20 minutes as they can be affected by last-minute programme changes, intervals and encores.


  • Standard entryFrom £25*
  • Concessions25%**

* Excludes £3.50 booking fee.

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** Limited availability. Read about concessions.

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Purcell Room

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An accessible toilet is located in the foyer.

A Changing Places toilet is located on Level 1 Royal Festival Hall next to the JCB Glass Lift, for the exclusive use of disabled people who need personal assistance to use the toilet.

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