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Barbican upcoming Contemporary-Classical events (Dec 2022)

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Sō Percussion with Caroline Shaw

Brooklyn-based four-piece contemporary ensemble Sō Percussion returns to the Barbican’s music programme for the first time in five years, joined by Pulitzer Prize and multi–Grammy Award-winning American composer and musician Caroline Shaw

Angelica Negron’s Gone, played on custom-made Bricolo robotic instruments, opens the evening, followed by a performance of Julia Wolfe’s Forbidden Love.  In the second half, Caroline Shaw joins the group for selections from her two 2021 albums – both written in collaboration with Sō Percussion and both drawing on Shaw’s melting pot of inspirations: rhythm, nature, literary quotes and hymns. Narrow Sea moves with the ebbs and flows of water, creating a timeless sense of movement. Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part sparkles with a heavenly beauty.

Sō Percussion have built an international reputation for their original compositions, percussion performances and education projects. They last appeared at the Barbican in autumn 2017, presenting an audio-visual exploration of the social history of British coal mining, From Out a Darker Sea, and previously performed as part of Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly’s marathon weekends.

Caroline Shaw is a musician who moves between roles, genres, and mediums, trying to imagine a world of sound that has never been heard before but has always existed. She is the recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, several Grammy awards, an honorary doctorate from Yale, and a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. She has worked with a range of artists including Rosalía, Renée Fleming, Yo Yo Ma, and Kanye West, and she has contributed music to films and tv series including Fleishman is in Trouble, Bombshell, Yellowjackets, Maid, Dark, and Beyonce’s Homecoming.

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Seven Septets

Classical, Jazz and experimental improvisation fuse in a showcase of music from some of the UK's brightest composer-performers. With historical roots (harking back to the salons of the 17th/18th century, when musicians were generally both composers and performers) but with its musical pulse firmly beating in the 21st century, Seven Septets is a musical ‘pass the parcel’, where each unwrapped layer reveals an intriguing new musical direction. Each musician takes a turn to lead with a musical concept of their own, while the remainder of the group illuminate these ideas with their own semi-improvised accompaniment.  There are no prescribed rules; the openness of the musical exchanges allows the strong ideas and personalities of each artist to come across, and creates space and focus for new combinations of music, sound and performance to develop.


The seven musicians featured in Seven Septets are:

Héloïse Werner: 'latter-day Cathy Berberian or Meredith Monk’ [The Times], winner of the RPS Music Award for Young Artist 2021, soprano-composer and co-founder of The Hermes Experiment.

Jas Kayser: drummer, percussionist, pianist and composer and Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year Award 2021.

Angela Wai Nok Hui: artist, percussionist and sound designer

Fred Thomas:  ECM artist, ‘boundary-blurring’ [The Guardian] composer, arranger and producer.

Kit Downes: Mercury nominated and BBC Jazz Award winning pianist, organist and composer.

Laura Moody: 'wildly alternative' [Soundfly] cellist, vocalist and theatre performer.

Colin Alexander: composer, cellist and founder of artist-led label and site, October House Records.


Find out more here