Sunday, 30 March 2014

Coming up at the Barbican – summer/autumn 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch during filming of Sherlock: image from Wikipedia Commons - Fat Les from London, UK derivative work: RanZag (talk)
Benedict Cumberbatch
during film of Sherlock
Besides Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet the Barbican is planning a summer season based on constructing worlds and how artists are influenced by the cities around them – in particular the city of London. This involves art, 'Constructing worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age' and photographs from school children in east London, film (with a new commission about the life of the Barbican), theatre - Mr Cumberbatch and others, as well as cinema and music.

Mr Cumberbatch aside, the Shakespeare celebrations include, on the 12 - 15 November, A Midsummer Night's Dream (As you like it) directed by Dmitry Krymov and in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Originally commissioned for the World Shakespeare Festival in 2012 it includes an opera singer, five meter tall puppets, ballerinas, and a performing dog.

The Théâtre National de Nice is staging Peer Gynt 8 - 11 October. Directed by Irina Brook and featuring writing by Pulitzer Prize-winning Sam Shepard and music composed by Iggy Pop, in this version Peer Gynt is re-imagined as a rock star on a desperate quest for his inner self.


In the cinema, a world premiere of In Dreams featuring music taken from David Lynch's films will be shown on the 20 June. This contemporary music event includes live music from Roy Orbison, David Bowie, Chris Isaak, Samuel Barber, Marilyn Manson and Elvis Presley performed by David Coulter's band.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra will be performing music composed by Neil Brand, Timothy Brock and Charlie Chaplin to accompany three films on the 30 November, Shoulder Arms, the short Kid Auto Races at Venice, Easy Street, and The Immigrant.

More film related events include, on the 7 October, film music from the Grammy and golden globe nominated British composer Clint Mansell, who wrote the scores for Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream and Pi.

The cinema also continues to show live performance events from Glyndebourne, The Royal Opera House, Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre and Met Opera throughout the year.

The Barbican has four orchestral residencies: Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker, and the New York Philharmonic will be at the Barbican in early 2015. But until then the London Symphony Orchestra will be performing Scriabin on the 30 March, 10 April with pianist Denis Matsuev and 13 April with Daniil Trifonov.

The Orchestra continues its 'Musical Alchemists' series into 2015 with Bernard Haitink, André Previn, Michael Tilson Thomas (celebrating his 70th birthday) as well as Sir Simon Rattle, who will be conducting the UK premiere of an LSO-commissioned children's opera The monster in the maze by Jonathan Dove.

The final residency is by the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra who will be working with young musicians in collaboration with the Guildhall and east London music hubs culminating in a concert at the Barbican Hall.

The Barbican's contemporary music series includes an evening with the composer-pianist Nils Frahm on the 29 October. Combining piano with synthesised sounds via a Rhodes keyboard his unusual approach to extrended techniques includes hitting the piano strings with a toilet brush. On the 1st June Richard Skelton will be performing Music inspired by memory and landscape with the Elysian string quartet, and Neil Gaiman will be reading his story The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains to illustrations by Eddie Campbell and music from FourPlay string quartet.

The Barbican's plans include celebrations of Sir John Tavener's life (in what would have been his 70 year) in a total immersion day on the 5 October. The London premiere of Missa Brevis will be performed alongside the more well-known The Lamb, Song for Athene, and The protecting veil, plus there will be screenings of documentaries about his life and music. Prior to this, on the 28 September the Britten Sinfonia will be performing the world premier of his last major concert work Flood of Beauty based on a 9 Century Sanskrit poem.

For details of all these events plus their current season please see the Barbican website.
Hilary Glover
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