Venus Unwrapped offers the chance to hear work as diverse as genre-busting Anna Meredith’s electronica and Raffaella Aleotti’s ecstatic choral music, composed behind the high walls of her convent in Ferrara in the late 16th century.
The festival opens atmospherically with Barbara Strozzi, Star of Venice (10 Jan), an exploration of the music of the 17th-century singer and composer, famed in her day for her madrigals and sensuous songs. Period performance specialist Christian Curnyn conducts soprano Mary Bevan and the Orchestra and Choir of the Age of Enlightenment.
Soprano Mary Bevan helps open the 'Venus Unwrapped' year at Kings Place, on 10 Jan. Photo: Victoria Cadisch
Rafaella Aleotti’s music is heard in a special concert staged at St Pancras Parish Church (16 Jan) given by Musica Secreta, a choir that will take the listener from the mystical songs of Hildegard of Bingen to the devotional music of Binchois, Josquin and Leonora d’Este.
Anna Meredith’s innovative work is showcased by Aurora Orchestra in a two concerts (2 Feb). The first will include her Origami Songs alongside Emily Hall’s Life Cycle, sung by Mara Carlyle. Later that same evening, Aurora devote a Lock-in event entirely to Meredith’s kaleidoscopic world of electronics, amplification and visuals, fusing contemporary classical with art pop and experimental rock.
Rachel Podger plays Italian Renaissance music for the violin on 22 Feb. Photo: BBC
Violinist Rachel Podger highlights female composers from the Italian Renaissance and French baroque in a wide-ranging programme on Friday 22 February and pianist Yeol Eum Son plays Mozart’s piano concert No 21 in C in Friday 5 April in an Aurora Orchestra concert that also sees the UK premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Dark with Excessive Bright, a special Aurora commission.
The home life of the Bach family, its triumphs and its tragedies, will be reimagined by novelist and critic Jessica Duchen in a special concert devoted to the story of Mrs Bach, Anna Magdalena (13 April). Harpsichordist Steven Devine will be joined by baritone Benjamin Bevan and cellist Jonathan Manson in works by the great JS, including his Anna Magdalena Notebook.
Kate Whitley and the Multi-Story Orchestra will give a concert intertwining spoken word and music, exploring the relationship between sound and text through both sung poetry and live readings (9 June). Ravel’s Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé will be sung by soprano Sarah-Jane Lewis, alongside a new set of love songs written for the event by Kate Whitley and improvised musical responses to poetry from Multi-Story cellist Abel Selacoe and violinist Fra Rustumji.
The Multi-Story Orchestra, seen here in an earlier youth project, performs love songs at Kings Place on 9 June
On 19 October the experimental vocal trio Juice Vocal Ensemble present a programme combining voice with electronics, found sounds and percussion, inspired by left-field pop, theatre and new classical music.Their concert will showcase three new commissions from composer-vocalist-artists: Gazelle Twin, Nwando Ebezie and Olivia Louvel.
A winter programme of intense spirituality from the Brodsky Quartet and the Gesualdo Six (20 December) will centre on the music of Roxanna Panufnik, interleaved with Renaissance reflections from Gesualdo and Morales. New arrangements of Panufnik’s Modlitwa, O Hearken, and O Tu Andrzej culminate in her work for male voices and quartet In Paradise. Hildegard von Bingen’s chant is the inspiration for Owain Park’s new work, Phoenix Rising, for the same forces.
Venus Unwrapped promises to help put back on the map neglected composers of works performed by our many brilliant women artists.
Booking for Venus Unwrapped events is open now.
|What||Venus Unwrapped 2019, Kings Place|
|Where||Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||King's Cross St. Pancras (underground)|
10 Jan 19 – 31 Dec 19, events all year; times vary
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|