Southbank Centre looks to 21st century in 2014/15 season

- 23 January 2014

Percussion supremo: Colin Currie heads the Metal, Wood, Skin festival Photo: Lydia Nylind

Percussion supremo: Colin Currie heads the Metal, Wood, Skin festival
Photo: Lydia Nylind

A varied 2014/15 classical season was announced by the Southbank Centre and its resident orchestras on 23 January, with particular attention drawn to 20 new works with London, UK and world premieres among them.

The Southbank Centre itself has commissioned works from Steve Reich, Anna Clyne, Terry Riley, Unsuk Chin, Kaija Saariaho, Simon Holt and, with the Philharmonia Orchestra, James MacMillan.

Many of the commissions will be performed as part of the four-month percussion festival entitled Metal, Wood, Skin, led by Southbank Centre artist-in-residence Colin Currie.

Composers with works premiered by resident orchestras include Magnus Lindberg (London Philharmonic Orchestra), Sir Harrison Birtwistle (two works for the LPO and London Sinfonietta), Julian Anderson (LPO), James MacMillan (with the Philharmonia Orchestra) and Stevie Wishart (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment).

The Philadelphia Orchestra, a rare visitor to these shores, will be bringing a programme including the UK premiere of a new work by Nico Muhly, while the Australian Chamber Orchestra, led by the dynamic violinist Richard Tognetti, will present a UK premiere of a work by Jonny Greenwood.

One of the other programming strands is the ‘Barenboim Project’, featuring the pianist and conductor in a cycle of Schubert’s piano sonatas in four concerts (May & June 2015) and two appearances with the Staatskapelle Berlin (20 & 21 April 2015).

From the resident orchestras, major announcements included the LPO’s 11-concert series ‘Rachmaninoff: Inside Out’, the Philharmonia’s ‘City of Light: Paris 1900-1950’, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment presents a five-concert series of nationalist music from around the world, ‘Flying the Flag’, with the London Sinfonietta drawing attention to its performance of Fausto Romitelli’s video opera, An Index of Metals (8 October 2014) and celebrations of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s 80th birthday (5 December 2014).

Jude Kelly, the Southbank Centre’s artistic director, said: ‘Building on the huge success of The Rest Is Noise festival, when we saw more than 120,000 people engage with 20th-century music in a new and intensive way, this year we present a season marked by its focus on 21st-century music. As a leading cultural organisation, we have a responsibility to contemporary composers to present their work in a way that fosters understanding from audiences and shows people that, just like other art forms, this music is both demanding and immensely rewarding.

Gillian Moore, head of classical music, said: ‘Our 2014/15 classical music programme has a large range of new music and core repertoire on offer &#8210 from the new commissions for the organ and the Metal, Wood, Skin festival with Colin Currie, to the extensive work across the season with our resident orchestras. We are also thrilled to strengthen our excellent relationships with leading international artists and orchestras and look forward to welcoming back Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin, Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, and Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker among many others.’

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