Last season, tickets were soon in short supply when Barbara Rett invited listeners to join her for concerts in the Matinee series. The popular TV arts journalist presented a short introduction to each concert and, with her irresistible charm, gave audiences a riveting insight into the happenings on stage. In the coming season, the series is again made up of six concerts. Barbara Rett’s guests include not only Chief Conductor Philippe Jordan and members of the orchestra, but such illustrious figures of the international stage as the baritone Thomas Hampson, the former chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert, and this year’s Artist in Residence, Nikolaj Znaider. After the spotlight on repertoire for the violin in last year’s concerts, this series devotes three whole concerts to the piano. Rudolf Buchbinder takes to the stage with the Viennese classicists Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart. The celebrated British pianist Stephen Hough presents Dvořák’s gripping Piano Concerto, and Alexander Gavrylyuk, winner of both the Horowitz and Rubinstein Prizes, promises to give an unforgettable performance of Rachmaninov’s virtuosic First Piano Concerto.