Over the course of an entire year, King’s Place presents a colossal series of concerts that seek to immerse London audiences in the complete range of minimalist music. From sparse medieval song to Moondog’s wild experimental jazz, the season ties together a truly eclectic bunch of music. There will be premieres from Nico Muhly, a celebration of Bang on a Can, and of course a chance to hear some of the masterpieces of post-war minimalism itself. With so much on offer, we’ve chosen five highlights that represent the vitality and diversity of the programme.
The Choir of Kings College Cambridge hold an unrivalled place in the nation’s heart. On Wedesday 4th February, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of their chapel’s completion, the choir will visit King’s Place to perform a selection of plainsong pieces, all drawn from two fifteenth century choirbooks. With its unaccompanied melodies, plainchant might just represent minimalist’s genesis.
Minimalism’s shadow extends beyond the classical realm, into numerous popular and experimental styles. Ambient music is no exception. Ahead of their second LP Atomos, A Winged Victory For The Sullen – composer Dustin O’Halloran and Stars of the Lid founder Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie – will visit King’s Place on Friday 6th February. Having recently been used to score Wayne McGregor’s choreography at the Royal Ballet, they are truly a genre-straddling combination.
One of the season’s most notable features is the array of collaborations it brings. None looks more intriguing will be held on Saturday 23rd May. French pianist Vanessa Wagner joins Mexican electronic maestro Murcof for an evening of classic minimalist piano pieces. Each one – from Cage, Adams, Glass, Part and Feldmann – will be transformed by Murcof’s layered, textural soundscapes. It looks to be utterly enchanting.
Gavin Bryars is one of the most distinctive voices in music today. From his origins as a jazz bassist to his John Cage-influenced compositions, he has worked across the board of post-war musical styles. On Saturday 24th October, he will take up his double-bass to play his minimalist masterwork Jesus’ Blood Never Fails Me Yet (1972), backed with his own ensemble. There will also be a selection of recent songs, before the evening concludes with a unique rendition of his Cadman Reqiuem (1989) with the Addison Chamber Choir.
Finally, on Sunday 20th December, the Aurora Orchestra will bring the programme to a close. Terry Riley’s In C (1964) proclaimed the birth of the minimalist movement, and remains one of the seminal works of its era, laying the groundwork for later works by Reich and Glass. It will be followed by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 (1800), which itself heralded the beginning of the romantic symphony. This will be a fitting conclusion to a fascinating year.
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04 Feb 15 – 20 Dec 15, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
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