On 2nd July Southbank Centre welcomes David Braid to the Purcell Room to present his new album of chamber and instrumental music. The evening will include performances from The Erato Piano Trio, pianist Sergei Podobedov and clarinettist Peter Cigleris.

Steve Reich said of David’s work: “ ‘Morning’. Integration of voice with string quartet beautifully done – Very honest stuff”.

We catch up with David ahead of the concert.

What are you particularly looking forward to about your forthcoming concert at Southbank Centre?
It’s been a few years since I had something played here, it will be good to return as I love the atmosphere – it’s very relaxed and ‘human’. As a composer I suppose I should say I’m looking forward to the performance itself. However, it can be rather stressful to be honest, being stuck in the stalls while others play, as it’s out of one’s hands, so I’m looking forward to it being over and getting back to work on my new piece – I much prefer composing to having concerts, although I’m extremely pleased to be having them of course!

Is there a piece of music you would pick out as one of the ‘best’ works ever written?
Well there are the obvious ones by the big three composers, discussed a great deal by others I expect, so I’ll avoid those and say Sibelius’ 5th Symphony – What to say about it though? – too much, it speaks for itself really, but in brief: such unbelievably perfect structure plus its powerful and somehow inevitable geometry across time – music that tells you something/everything about spacetime that cannot be even slightly approached by using language – also his 7th Symphony of course, plus a great number of John Dowland’s lute songs, clearly in the same class as Schubert’s, but a lot closer to home for me; Lutoslawski’s 4th symphony also – transcendent!

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
Time travel obviously – facing forward of course! I would like to have a chat for a few hours with someone from 15,000-20,000 years in the future (I’d have to bring an army of linguists and philologists with me of course – he/she/it would have to bring historians too so we could understand each other). It would need to be someone who is very well-informed on the then-current scientific, artistic and ethical developments. I would risk blowing a mind-fuse for this.

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
I’d get Bach to come and improvise on the organ! If he was busy that day I’d ask Dowland to come and play the lute.

What is the most played piece of music on your mp3 player or in your CD collection?
I only really listen to vinyl these days and I have no mp3 player as I can’t listen to music that much as it distracts from composing, so I never bought one. So, most-played? Glenn Gould’s record of Byrd and Gibbons, (I’ve actually got two copies of this so when the first wears down I have a spare) followed by Beecham’s Sibelius’ 7th (only one copy of this unfortunately – hence its 2nd place).

Do you have any strange rituals you carry out before or after you perform?
I’ve not performed for many years so not as such. However, before a performance of my stuff I tend to worry a lot and drink a couple of beers to be quite honest.

For more info and to book tickets, click here

From Russia With Love – Spotify Playlist

Pianist Joanna MacGregor, cellist Richard Harwood and violinist Charlie Siem join Toby Purser conducting the Orion Symphony Orchestra for a night celebrating some of the best Russian composers of the Romantic era, plus some 20th-century favourites.
Have a listen to the Spotify Playlist we’ve created for A Night Under the Stars: From Russia With Love including some of the best-loved music from Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and Prokofiev.



Come and hear the Orion Symphony Orchestra at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on Thursday 10 November. More info and tickets here.

‘Please join us and help Japan’: Sapporo Symphony Orchestra concert in aid of Japan earthquake and tsunami victims

Sapporo Symphony Orchestra have announced that their Royal Festival Hall concert on Monday 23 May will be in aid of victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The orchestra’s players and tour management will not take any payment for the performance, and all ticket proceeds will be shared between the Japanese Red Cross Society and Japan Society Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund.

They perform a beautiful programme: Takmitsu’s How slow the wind, Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No.5, under conductor Tadaaki Otaka.

‘It was an unforeseen and terrible disaster, from which all Japanese people are working extremely hard to recover. We, the musicians, wish to turn our London appearance into a benefit concert to support the vital relief efforts in our country. Please join us and help Japan! Thank you.’ (Tadaaki Otaka)

Click here to book.