Barbican November 2017 highlights

This autumn the EFG London Jazz Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary with concerts at the Barbican featuring Black Top (Orphy Robinson and Pat Thomas), Herbie Hancock, Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny, Chucho Valdés and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Zakir Hussain alongside Dave Holland and Chris Potter, Roland Perrin, Phronesis and Engines Orchestra, Carminho, Pharoah Sanders, Alina Bzhezhinska, Omar Sosa, Seckou Keita, a premiere of a festival commission bringing together Terence Blanchard and the BBC Concert Orchestra and The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda.


Munich’s Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor Mariss Jansons present a programme including Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Grammy Award-winning Yefim Bronfman.


RIOT DAYS, a new project led by Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina, makes its UK premiere in a Barbican-promoted performance at Islington Assembly Hall, while vocal ensemble Singcircle perform Stockhausen’s monumental work Stimmung in a concert that also includes his Cosmic Pulses, which will be accompanied by visuals by German sound and laser artist Robert Henke.

Touretteshero mix things up in The Pit with Touretteshero Pit Party – Brewing in the Basement, bringing people together to laugh, experiment and share ideas in a lively celebration of the UK’s thriving disability arts scene. The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein blurs the lines between live art, theatre and fine art, in an irreverent look at pop culture’s take on the ‘female monster’ in Notorius. Winners of this year’s Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, duo Mars.tarrab present ROLLER, an energy-packed investigation into competition, ageing and power in the female-focused, self-organising and community-run world of roller derby.


The Royal Shakespeare Company returns to the Barbican with Rome MMXVII, comprising four of Shakespeare’s most gripping plays – Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Antony & Cleopatra and Titus Andronicus.


Basquiat: Boom for Real, continues in the Art Gallery, bringing together more than 100 of Jean-Michel Basquiat ‘s (1960­-1988) works.


Commissioned especially for the Curve, British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah’s new work Purple, an immersive, six-channel video installation charting incremental shifts in climate change across the planet. Barbican Cinema screens a series of films which have influenced John Akomfrah’s work.


Cinema Matters continues with a look at the representation of time, memory and dreams. Director Moran Ifergan gives a ScreenTalk after the UK premiere ofWall as part of Conversations with Women in Film.


The Barbican’s foyer programme continues with four installations including HÍBRIDOS, The Spirits of Brazil by Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon; The People’s Forest: The Fairlop Oak by Gayle Chong Kwan; Interlock: Friends Pictured Within, devised by Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning with musician Anna Meredith and artist Jonathan Munro; and Less than Thirteen, a new digital work from award-winning artistic duo Cleary Connolly.






Sat 4 Nov 2017, LSO St Luke’s, 8pm


Nine musicians representing different styles of Albanian folk music come together for a special concert at LSO St Luke’s as part of the Barbican’s contemporary music programme. The handpicked ‘supergroup’ are a powerful example of Albania’s rich folk music scene, a musical landscape almost completely untouched by Western influences well into the late 1990s. This style, known as ‘Saze’, can range from the blues-like mood known as ‘kaba’ to joyful dances. The project is spearheaded by veteran record and film producer Joe Boyd whose credits include tracks by Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention and Nick Drake, as well as organising the scoring of Deliverance and A Clockwork Orange.


EFG London Jazz Festival 2017

Fri 10 Nov-Sun 19 Nov 2017, Barbican Hall, Milton Court Concert Hall


EFG London Jazz Festival, presented by Barbican Associate Producer Serious, celebrates its 25th year in 2017. Concert highlights include British vibraphonist and multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson, joined by regular collaborator and pianist Pat Thomas performing under their collective alias Black Top (10 November, LSO St Luke’s). The evening’s performance offers a rich exploration of the cultural dynamic between Free-Jazz and the vividly resonant paintings of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, coinciding with the Barbican Art Gallery exhibition Basquiat: Boom for Real. Also at the Barbican will be two giants of Cuban piano music Chucho Valdés and Gonzalo Rubalcaba in a rare joint performance (11 November, Barbican Hall); a celebration of the profound musical and spiritual legacy of two of the most influential figures in Western musical history, Alice and John Coltrane (18 November, Barbican Hall), featuring a headline set from cosmic jazz icon Pharoah Sanders, a new project from Denys Baptiste entitled The Late Trane, and innovative harpist Alina Bzhezhinska with her quartet; and a rare performance of Joe Zawinul’s Stories of the Danube (19 November, Barbican Hall)– his grand orchestral vision of one of the world’s great rivers – conducted by his friend Kristjan Järvi and featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra and Terence Blanchard Quintet.


Further Jazz Festival highlights include an exploration of how jazz influenced the popular music of India by tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain alongside Dave Holland and Chris Potter; virtuosic Punch Brothers mandolin player Chris Thile and jazz pianist Brad Mehldau; jazz icon Herbie Hancock; Portuguese fado singer Carminho; Cuban Jazz pianist and composer Omar Sosa and the Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita in concert; jazz guitarist Pat Metheny and his new quartet; the London premiere of a new choral symphony by composer and pianist Roland Perrin; and progressive trio Phronesis and Engines Orchestra in a performance of renowned composer Dave Maric’s new music.


Pussy Riot Theatre: RIOT DAYS

Fri 17 Nov 2017, Islington Assembly Hall, 8pm


RIOT DAYS, a new project led by Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina, makes its UK premiere in a Barbican-produced performance at Islington Assembly Hall, following a successful tour of the USA and international festival appearances. The performance, formerly titled The Revolution, is a collaboration with music producer Alexander Cheparukhin, based on Alyokhina’s book also titled RIOT DAYS. Directed by leading Russian Theatre director Yury Muravitsky (recipient of the Golden Mask annual Russian Theatre award), the performance features Alyokhina, actor Kiryl Masheka, and Nastya and Max of the music duo AWOTT (Asian Women On The Telephone). RIOT DAYS is a retelling of Pussy Riot’s 2012 political performance in a Moscow cathedral and the near two year prison sentence that Alyokhina served as a result. Narration, re-enactment, video footage and experimental soundtrack combine to convey the story – both personal and political.


Stockhausen: Stimmung & Cosmic Pulses

Mon 20 Nov 2017, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm


Marking ten years since Stockhausen’s death, vocal ensemble Singcircle and some of the composer’s closest associates, including his long-time artistic collaborator Kathinka Pasveer, perform two of his defining masterpieces. This concert also celebrates the 40th anniversary of Singcircle's performance of Stimmung – a piece they have performed over 50 times, including at the Barbican in1986. It is followed by Stockhausen’s last electronic composition, the monumental Cosmic Pulses, which forms part of his larger unfinished Klang (‘sound’) composition cycle. German sound and laser artist Robert Henke will provide a new, especially devised laser installation to accompany the performance of Cosmic Pulses, creating his trademark geometrical sculptures above the heads of the audience. This is a welcome return to the Barbican from Henke, following his world premiere performance of Lumière III in February 2017 and his presentation of Lumière I as part of the Barbican’s Digital Revolution exhibition in 2014.


Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Jansons

Fri 24 Nov 2017, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm


Following their triumphant performance of Russian music in April 2017, Munich’s Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra – one of the world’s finest orchestras – and chief conductor Mariss Jansons return to the Barbican Hall to present a programme including Beethoven’s stirring Piano Concerto No. 4 with Grammy Award-winning Yefim Bronfman at the piano, and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, a famously optimistic and joyous work written in 1944, for which he was later to be condemned by the Soviet regime.


Sō Percussion: From Out a Darker Sea

Fri 24 & Sat 25 Nov 2017, St Giles Cripplegate, 8pm


Brooklyn-based group Sō Percussion embark on a concert tour of sacred spaces, including St Giles Cripplegate, as part of the Barbican’s contemporary music programme this autumn. In two concerts over two nights they will perform a multifaceted art, photography, film and original music soundscape piece entitled From Out a Darker Sea. Commissioned by East Durham Creates as part of Art Council England’s Creative People and Places programme, this immersive audio-visual performance is inspired by the context and history of East Durham, an area which has struggled to reinvent itself after the crushing loss of its mining industry. Sō Percussion collaborated with film and photography collective Amber Films on the creation of a new work, Song for Billy, which was developed from Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s photographic series The Coal Coast and features as part of this performance.


Tan Dun: The Martial Arts Trilogy

Thu 30 Nov 2017, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm


In 2017, the Barbican celebrates the medium of film with its Film in Focus series across the various artforms. As part of this, the Barbican presents Tan Dun’s Martial Arts Trilogy performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Chinese composer and conductor Tan Dun leads a performance of suites from his stirring scores for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee), Hero (Zhang Yimou) and The Banquet (Feng Xiaogang), accompanied by visuals from the films. Bringing together three masterpieces of Chinese cinema, Tan Dun’s trilogy sets the Martial Arts tradition originally found in Chinese opera into a modern context.





Cinema Matters Part 6 - Time, Memory, Dream

Thu 2 Nov – Sun 17 Dec 2017, Cinema 3


In the final section of a year-long series at Barbican considering cinema’s impact on the world, Cinema Matters considers the representation of time, memory and dreams. Screenings in November include celebrated French filmmaker Chris Marker’s San Soleil, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles; the influential debut feature from Alain Resnais, Hiroshima, Mon Amour; and Andrei Tarkovsky’s stunning piece of filmmaking, Mirror.


Silent Film and Live Music: Mamma Don’t Allow + Together + Live musical accompaniment

Sun 12 Nov 2017, Cinema 3, 4pm


As part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, Barbican Cinema presents two classic shorts from the British ‘Free Cinema’ movement: Mamma Don’t Allow (1956) features Chris Barber and his band at the Wood Green Jazz Club; Together (1956), set in London’s East End, follows two deaf-mute dockers (played by played by artists Eduardo Paolozzi and Michael Andrews) with a newly commissioned live jazz score by Raymond MacDonald and Christian Ferlaino.


Conversations with Women in Film: Wall (UK Premiere) + ScreenTalk with director Moran Ifergan

Mon 13 Nov 2017, Cinema 2, 6.30pm


A woman’s personal drama of divorce and rediscovery is juxtaposed with the dramatic and routine happenings around the Western Wall in Jerusalem. An encounter between sound and image, both private and public. The screening of Wall at Barbican marks its UK premiere and is the debut documentary feature by Israeli director Moran Ifergan who will attend a ScreenTalk after the film.


John Akomfrah Presents: Salvatore Giuliano

Wed 15 Nov 2017, Cinema 2, 8.45pm


Complementing his exhibition Purple in the Curve, John Akomfrah selects a quartet of films that have inspired his work and world view, including in November this drama from acclaimed Italian filmmaker Francesco Rosi. Through this portrait of a Sicilian bandit, Rosi explores the complicit corruption of citizens, the Mafia and the government.





Royal Shakespeare Company – Coriolanus

Mon 6–Sat 18 Nov 2017, Barbican Theatre

Press performance: Wed 8 Nov 2017, 7pm


A full-throttle war play that revels in the sweat of the battlefield, Coriolanus looks back to the emergence of the republic of Rome.


Caius Martius Coriolanus is a fearless soldier but a reluctant leader. His ambitious mother attempts to carve him a path to power yet he struggles to change his nature and do what is required to achieve greatness. Now he must decide who he really is and where his allegiances lie.


Set in a new city state struggling to find its feet, where the gap between rich and poor widens every day, this visceral production opens the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rome season at the Barbican. Following his sell-out hits of Oppenheimer (2014) and Don Quixote (2016) in Stratford-upon-Avon, Angus Jackson directs rising talent Sope Dirisu in the title role.


Royal Shakespeare Company – Julius Caesar

Fri 24 Nov 2017–Sat 20 Jan 2018, Barbican Theatre

Press performance: Tue 12 Dec 2017, 1pm


Angus Jackson directs Shakespeare’s epic political tragedy, as the race to claim the empire spirals out of control.


Caesar returns from war, an all-conquering hero, but mutiny is rumbling through the corridors of power. Although Brutus loves Caesar, he is persuaded to kill him for the greater good, and like all conspirators loses control of the consequences.


Season Director Angus Jackson steers the thrilling action of the story that continues to define all political backstabbing, with spin and betrayal turning to violence. The cast includes Andrew Woodall in the title role alongside Alex Waldmann as Brutus.


Royal Shakespeare Company – Antony & Cleopatra

Thu 30 Nov 2017–Sat 20 Jan 2018, Barbican Theatre

Press performance: Tue 12 Dec 2017, 7pm


One of Shakespeare’s greatest love stories, Antony & Cleopatra continues the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rome season, picking up the story where Julius Caesar ends.


Following Caesar’s assassination, Mark Antony has reached the heights of power. Now he neglects his empire for a life of decadent seduction with his mistress, Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Torn between love and duty, his military brilliance deserts him, and his passion leads the lovers to their tragic end.


Known for his fresh and urgent interpretations of Shakespeare, Iqbal Khan directs Josette Simon and Antony Byrne in the title roles. Singer-songwriter Laura Mvula writes the music for the production.


The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rome season concludes with Titus Andronicus directed by Blanche McIntyre and starring David Troughton from Thu 7 Dec 2017 to Fri 19 Jan 2018.


Touretteshero Pit Party – Brewing in the Basement

Fri 3–Sat 4 Nov 2017, The Pit

Events from 12-5pm and 6-10pm on Sat 4 Nov are open to reviewers/journalists; please contact the Communications Office to book your tickets


Touretteshero mix things up in The Pit with an immersive theatrical event this Guy Fawkes weekend. Brewing in the Basement is a catalyst for creativity and an invitation to rethink and explore what access to the arts for everyone means whilst challenging traditional boundaries of contemporary theatre.


Through a series of interdisciplinary and inclusive activities and performances, bringing people together to laugh, experiment and share ideas in a lively and collaborative environment, this imaginative takeover celebrates the UK’s thriving disability arts scene. The event culminates in a parade through the Barbican Centre to celebrate diversity, difference, and disability culture. Artists performing as part of Brewing in the Basement include Captain Hotknives, The Fish Police, Loki, PERKY and Sounds Like Chaos.


All activities, performances and parades are accessible and relaxed, and people are welcome to move around and make noise at any time.


The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein – Notorious

Tue 7–Sat 11 Nov 2017, The Pit, 7.45pm

Critics are invited to attend Notorious on any evening


Blurring the lines between live art, theatre and fine art, The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein interrogates representations of female subjectivity, looking at ways in which social media and consumerism have redefined how people relate to the female body.


In this irreverent phenomenon of music, dance and ‘witch-bitch’ ritual, The Famous plunges into the ghostly underworld of popular culture, seeking, as she puts it, “the pure me behind this soiled shroud of promiscuity.”


Pulling from Medusa, Nicki Minaj and her own legendary self(ie), she examines pop culture’s take on the ‘female monster’. Expect visual overload and risk-taking from this performance, which follows on from the sell-out Splat! seen at the Barbican in 2013.


The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award 2017: Mars.tarrab – ROLLER

Thu 23 Nov–Sat 2 Dec 2017, The Pit

Press performance: Fri 24 Nov 2017, 7.45pm


Winners of this year’s Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, Mars.tarrab perform the world premiere of ROLLER, a Barbican co-production, in The Pit this November. Using the full-contact, female-led sport roller derby as a starting point, Rachel Mars and nat tarrab devise a highly visual, genre-smashing show. Investigating inclusivity, competition and feminist economic theory, ROLLER is performed by an all-female cast of performers and non-performers in a reconfigured auditorium.


Roller derby is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. Fascinated by its popularity, Mars and tarrab spent time with the Brighton Rockers Roller Derby team to grasp the essence of the sport. They combine this new knowledge with research into alternative models of economics in this fast-paced production.


Formed in 2007, Mars.tarrab’s work interrogates gender outlawism, power, language and playfulness. It is highly physical, visceral, and funny, and the company constructs productions in intelligent and innovative ways.





Basquiat: Boom for Real

Thu 21 Sep 2017–Sun 28 Jan 2018, Barbican Art Gallery

Media View: Wed 20 Sept, 10am –1pm



Basquiat: Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960­—1988). One of the most significant painters of the 20th century, Basquiat came of age in the post-punk underground art scene in Lower Manhattan in the late 1970s. By 1982, he had gained international recognition and was the youngest ever artist to participate in Documenta in Kassel. Basquiat’s vibrant, raw imagery springs from an impressive erudition, seen in the fragments of bold capitalised text that abound in his works — offering insights into both his encyclopaedic interests and his experience as a young artist with no formal training. Since his tragic death in 1988, Basquiat has had remarkably little exposure in the UK where there is not a single work in a public collection.


More than any other exhibition to date, Basquiat: Boom for Real focuses on the artist’s relationship to music, text, film and television, placing it within the wider cultural context of the time. Paintings, drawings and notebooks are presented alongside rare film, photography, music and ephemera in a design that aims to capture the dynamism of Basquiat’s practice. These exhibits are brought together for the first time in 35 years, allowing visitors to understand how Basquiat so quickly won the admiration of his fellow artists and critics.


For full press release and images please visit:


John Akomfrah: Purple
Fri 6 Oct 2017–Tue 7 Jan 2018, The Curve, Barbican Centre

Media view: Thursday 5 October, 10am–1pm

Free Admission



Barbican Art Gallery presents a new commission by British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah for the Curve. His most ambitious project to date, Purple is an immersive, six-channel video installation which charts the incremental shifts in climate change across the planet and its effects on human communities, biodiversity and the wilderness. As the follow up to Vertigo Sea (2015), Akomfrah’s standout work at the 56th Venice Biennale, Purple forms the second chapter in a planned quartet of films addressing the aesthetics and politics of matter. Symphonic in scale and divided into six interwoven movements, Akomfrah has combined hundreds of hours of archival footage with newly shot film and a hypnotic sound score to produce the video installation. Akomfrah’s Purple brings a multitude of ideas into conversation including mammalian extinctions, the memory of ice, the plastic ocean and global warming.


To coincide with Purple, John Akomfrah selects a series of films which have influenced his work and life over the years, including Far From Vietnam, Salvatore Giuliano, Memories of Underdevelopment, and in a digital restoration by Martin Scorcese’s Film Foundation The Night of Counting the Years (aka The Mummy).




The Barbican’s award-winning series of foyer commissions continues in November with work from five innovative artists and collectives, ranging from monumental sculpture, to choreographer residencies and large-scale projected mediations on spirituality.


For Interlock: Friends Pictured Within, artists Anna Meredith and Jonathan Munro work with 100 participants from east London to create an interactive multimedia installation exploring Elgar’s Enigma Variations, while Less than Thirteen by Cleary Connolly, simplifies and abstracts the movements of Sir Simon Rattle conducting to explore theories of perception and the inherent musicality of movement. Both installations were especially commissioned to coincide with the Barbican and LSO’s This is Rattle season. Visual artist Gayle Chong Kwan’s huge sculpture, The Fairlop Oak, rises through the heart of the building, and draws upon the famed pollarded trees in Epping Forest and the architecture of protest. Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon respond to the constantly evolving ritualistic forms and theatrical sacred rites from across Brazil, in HÍBRIDOS, The Spirits of Brazil – a large scale filmic tapestry, and Ann Van den Broek and her company Ward/ward take up residency on the ground floor of the foyers to investigate the relationship between performer and spectator in public spaces.