From 7–9 July 2017, Southbank Centre presents an entire weekend of free music, concerts and workshops featuring all 20 pieces of new music from PRS Foundation’s New Music Biennial 2017.

Featuring BBC Concert Orchestra, Gavin Bryars, Eliza Carthy, Laurence Crane, Darkstar, Peter Edwards, Daniel Elms, EXAUDI, The Freedom Choir, GoGo Penguin, Gould Piano Trio, Emily Hall, Joe Harrison, Simon Holt, David Hoyle,Brian Irvine, Sam Lee, Ray Lee, Mica Levi, Toby Litt, London International Gospel Choir, London Sinfonietta, Mahogany Opera Group, Majiker, Anne Martin, James McVinnie, Anna Meredith, Moulettes, Nu Civilisation Orchestra, Hannah Peel, Jocelyn Pook, John Potter, Red Note Ensemble, Mark Simpson, Gyan Singh, Jason Singh, Southbank Sinfonia, Sharat Chandra Srivastava, Tubular Brass, Philip Venables, Errollyn Wallen and Jennifer Walshe

A celebration of new music from the UK’s most talented composers and musicians, the New Music Biennial — presented in partnership with Hull UK City of Culture 2017, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Council England and BBC Radio 3 — presents a snapshot of contemporary music in the UK across all genres from classical and chamber opera to jazz, folk, electronic and music for brass band and organ.

New Music Biennial 2017 comprises eleven brand new works from Gavin Bryars, Eliza Carthy, Darkstar, Peter Edwards, Daniel Elms, Mercury Prize-nominated artists GoGo Penguin and Sam Lee, Emily Hall, Simon Holt, Ray Lee and Southbank Centre Associate Artist and BAFTA-nominated Mica Levi alongside nine pre-existing works that have been composed within the last 15 years, including Anna Meredith’s Concerto for Beatboxer and Orchestra, commissioned by Southbank Centre in 2010.

Works are performed in a range of settings across Southbank Centre’s 17-acre site. From outdoor pop-up giant bell towers as part of Ray Lee’s new piece Ring Out to a performance of Sam Lee’s folk creation Hullucination on the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, audiences are invited to discover new music in an interactive way, outside of the traditional concert hall setting. Each bite-sized piece, lasting 15 minutes, is performed at least twice enabling audiences to see and hear all the winning compositions across the weekend. Alongside the new music are workshops, Q+A sessions with the composers, pop-up performances and a late-night after party show from London-based electronic music duo Darkstar as well as a six-week course in Music Journalism in which participants are offered the opportunity to develop a number of skills including interviewing, feature-writing and designing a magazine.

This year’s festival builds on the successes of the New Music Biennial 2014 and Cultural Olympiad programme, New Music 20×12, both presented at Southbank Centre. All New Music Biennial commissions receive public performances in Hull on 30 June - 2 July as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 celebrations and 7- 9 July at London’s Southbank Centre and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Highlights of the weekend include:

  • Mercury Prize-nominated Manchester-based acoustic-electronica trio GoGo Penguin pay tribute to Basil Kirchin, the pioneering film composer, in their new commission As Above So Below, inspired by the industrial landscapes of the North (8 July)
  • Sound artist and composer Ray Lee’s new work Ring Out featuring digitally-produced bell song alongside the visual spectacle of 4 giant bell towers installed across the site (8 - 9 July)
  • Bethia, a new work by Daniel Elms performed by a small group of chamber musicians alongside projected film footage from the BFI National and Yorkshire Film archives (7 July)
  • Outdoor performances of new works by leading lights of the folk scene including Mercury-prize nominees Sam Lee and Eliza Carthy (8 July)
  • BBC Young Musician of the Year Mark Simpson and BBC Concert Orchestra perform Simon Holt’s new basset clarinet concerto, inspired by a black and white print by English artist, Cecil Collins (9 July)
  • Family-friendly performances including new children’s opera The Itch-Witch written by Emily Hall and author Toby Litt (8 July)
  • A new piece from Southbank Centre Associate Artist Mica Levi, the classically trained singer, songwriter, BAFTA nominated composer and producer who is best known for her band Micachu & The Shapes, written with the BBC Concert Orchestra drawing on and utilising the Orchestra’s huge sound and great power (9 July)
  • A performance of Anna Meredith’s Concerto for Beatboxer and Orchestra, the first fully developed orchestral work to feature a beatboxer as the soloist, commissioned in 2010 by Southbank Centre and featuring soloist Majiker (7 July)
  • A performance of Olivier Award-winning composer Jocelyn Pook’s Anxiety Fanfare and Variations exploring the concept of performance anxiety, commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation in 2014 and performed by the Jocelyn Pook Ensemble and the community singers of the London International Gospel Choir, led by Naveen Arles. (9 July)
  • Composer-led workshops and Q+A sessions offering audiences an opportunity to try out and learn more about the music being performed throughout the weekend including a Schools Day (7 July) put together in collaboration with BBC Proms Inspire

Gillian Moore, Director of Music, Southbank Centre said: “The New Music Biennial is such an important platform and we’re thrilled to celebrate once again the talent and diversity of composers working in the UK today. Southbank Centre is committed to presenting new music in ever-more innovative and engaging ways, and through these performances and the supporting programme of workshops and Q+As, we look forward to inspiring many people with the sheer excitement of music-making.”

Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation said, “I'm delighted that Southbank Centre is again presenting this free weekend of new music which celebrates the talent and imagination of UK composers. I look forward to being at this exciting event which will give audiences a chance to explore a huge array of different musical styles and ideas."


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