Witness an historic musical collaboration between the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra

The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Russian National Orchestra join forces for three concerts at Royal Festival Hall with the theme of War & Peace.

LPO Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski introduces the concerts and talks about the reasons for this historic collaboration:

 

Find out more / book tickets

Tickets for Friday 5 October have almost sold out but you can still buy tickets to see Vladimir Jurowski conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra on Wednesday 3 October and the Russian National Orchestra on Thursday 4 October

Get to know pianist Rolf Hind

Rolf Hind, photo: Skel Nicolau

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of John Cage’s birth, pianist Rolf Hind, one of our great interpreters of modern piano music, collaborates with acclaimed choreographer Rui Horta, dancer Silvia Bertoncelli and a cat named Mia in a new work that showcases the genius of one of the twentieth century’s great artists. We caught up with Rolf to ask him some quick questions.

What do you fear the most and why?
Death. For all the usual reasons.

What – or where – is perfection?
Everything is as it is meant to be.

What’s your favourite ritual?
Meditation. Also drinking coffee!

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
One – of many – who just springs to mind: Arundhati Roy. wrote a wonderful book, but didn’t make a ‘career’ of art. Now a very brave and vocal activist and polemicist. True to herself.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
I wish I’d started the cello when I was young. I adore the instrument, it has a kind of embodiment and sheer physicality that surpasses all the others. Sounds beautiful across an enormous range too.

Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre?
Ten years ago I played a QEH concert for Boulez’ birthday with newly commissioned pieces which all came out on CD after the event. It was an exciting evening.

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
Rumi, Kabir, Farinelli, Szymanowski, Bartok, EM Forster, Proust, Rufus Wainwright, Bjork, Messiaen, Lachenmann, Diamanda Galas. That’s just the top dozen!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Be kind. And start with yourself.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
I hardly listen to recorded music. Prefer to make, play, hear or imagine it live. But if I need a boost I often return to the gypsy music of Taraf de Haidouks.

Tell us a bit about how the collaboration for Danza Preparata came about.
The very foresighted artistic director of the Casa da Musica in Porto approached me a couple of years ago and I went to see some work of Rui Horta’s in Lisbon. I was blown away by Rui Horta, as man and artist. He is an extraordinary bundle of energy and a serious polymath, whose work should be even better known than it is.

Sum up Danza Preparata in one sentence.
Exquisite dancing, lighting, concept and music, respectful and playful: a lovely gift for Cage.

How much of an impact do you feel Cage made on 20th century classical music?
A large one: I see him as the Warhol of music (many may disagree!) I don’t always love all the work, but even when I don’t I see it as something akin to the meditation I practise – an opportunity to find new perspective on one’s experience, or to dwell on an idea (like a Zen koan, a kind of riddle..)

It allows listeners, composers and performers to react in a new way. It also marks a serious attempt to integrate the philosophical tenets of certain aspects of Eastern thought with Western sounds, in a much more thorough way than the ‘orientalisme’ that often came before.

It’s also about emancipation: for instruments (redeployed, reconfigured, reinvented) for sound (liberated from the heft of grammar and meaning) and for the USA (liberated from Western Europe!)

What’s next for you?
On November 24th in the Barbican, the wonderful accordionist, James Crabb, premieres my biggest orchestral piece, a concerto called The Tiniest House of Time with the BBCSO.

See Rolf Hind performing John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano in Danza Preparata as part of Ether 2012 at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 16 October. Get tickets here. 

Angela Hewitt talks to the Guardian about her battle with Bach

Pianist Angela Hewitt has played Bach everywhere from Beijing to Bogotá. But she always avoided his final work – thinking it was too tough.  On Tuesday 2 October she opens the International Piano Series 2012/13 with the first of two Royal Festival Hall recitals that focus on the composer’s final masterpiece, The Art of Fugue.

In an article in The Guardian on Wednesday 19 September, Angela relives how she overcame fear and major surgery to love The Art of Fugue:

“The first time I managed to play it through at home without stopping, I got goosebumps.  Its perfection is such that when I perform it, even the slightest cough feels like a stain on a beautiful canvas. The composer and critic Wilfrid Mellers put it perfectly when he said that, in The Art of Fugue, Bach “plays to God and himself in an empty church”. Few pieces have such simultaneous intimacy and grandeur. By performing and recording it over the next few years, I hope that music-lovers around the world will come to share my state of wonder.”

Read the full article

Listen to our International Piano Series podcast with Angela Hewitt

Angela Hewitt performs the Art of Fugue at the Royal Festival Hall on 2 October and 7 May as part of the International Piano Series 2012/13.

John Cage iPhone app!

Celebrate John Cage’s 100th birthday by playing the CagePiano app on your phone!

One of the many ingenious innovations of American composer/writer/artist John Cage was his creation of the ‘prepared piano’, in which he placed objects beneath and between the strings of a grand piano to create an entirely new instrument.

John Cage Prepared Piano app

John Cage Prepared Piano app

John Cage Prepared Piano app

Southbank Centre’s Ether 2012 is presenting John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano live at Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 16 October. Get tickets here. 

WIN A NIGHT FIT FOR A QUEEN

To celebrate the launch of their Queens, Heroines and Ladykillers season, the OAE are running a fantastic competition to win a night fit for a Queen.

All you have to do is nominate your personal heroine and you could win your own private box plus interval drinks for the opening night of the Queens, Heroines and Ladykillers season on 30 September.

If you would like some ideas, check out their inspirational video!

To enter, submit 200 words or less about your personal heroine by 26 September. The winner will be announced the following day.

Entries should be submitted to: heroines@oae.co.uk

Listen to our John Cage Spotify playlist

John Cage was the most influential and controversial American experimental composer of the 20th Century. He was the father of indeterminism, a Zen-inspired aesthetic which expelled all notions of choice from the creative process.Rejecting the most deeply help compositional principles of the past – logical consequence, vertical sensitivity, and tonality among them – Cage created a ground-breaking alternative to the serialist method, de-constructing traditions established hundreds and even thousands of years earlier; the end result was a radical new artistic approach which impacted all of the music composed in its wake, forever altering not only the ways in which sounds are created but also how they’re absorbed by audiences. Indeed it’s often been suggested that he did to music what Karl Marx did to government – he levelled it.

John Cage

On 16 October, as part of Ether 2012, pianist Rolf Hind, one of our great interpreters of modern piano music collaborates with choreographer Rui Horta and a cat named Mia in a new work that showcases the genius of one of the twentieth century’s great artists and his Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano, a group of 20 short pieces for prepared piano that are often considered amongst his finest achievements.

Have a listen to our John Cage spotify playlist, featuring some of his best know work including the infamous 4’33” plus a selection of his Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano. Click below to listen.  

Listen here

 

Catch Danza Preparata – John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano – at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 16 October as part of Ether 2012. Get tickets here. 

 

 

YOUNG COMPOSER AND MUSICIAN, LLOYD COLEMAN COMES TO SOUTHBANK CENTRE AS PART OF THE BEETHOVEN QUESTION WEEKEND

The Musical Brain conference, The Beethoven Question: Can Art Make Life Worth Living? is about Beethoven’s music and how despite his deafness and failing health, he continued to compose some of the most sublime music ever written. Among a raft of distinguished speakers and performers, it features Lloyd Coleman, 20, an outstanding young musician, who is deaf and partially sighted. The Sacconis will perform his String Quartet and he will speak and join in panel discussions such as The Need to Compose at the conference on 27/28 October.

Lloyd performed at Southbank Centre earlier this month with the British Paraorchestra as part of Unlimited, our festival to celebrate the talent and imagination of deaf and disabled artists, as well as performing at the Paralympics closing ceremony.

The below video clip is taken from the BBC documentary Breaking the Wall, which follows Lloyd’s progress, after he was invited to write a new piece for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in celebration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For more info and to book tickets for The Beethoven Question click here
For additional information please visit: www.themusicalbrain.org