Jóhann Jóhannsson: Last and First Men

A film and live score

On sale recommencement
A still image from Last and First Men depicting a dilapidated building

Jóhann Jóhannsson sadly died in February, shortly after this concert was announced. After consultation with Jóhann’s family, it has been agreed this performance will go ahead in tribute to him.

We've made the decision not to replace Jóhann – instead, recordings that Jóhann made of his own parts will be played live alongside the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of his breathtaking multimedia work, Last and First Men. Based on the cult science fiction novel by Olaf Stapledon, it uses music, film and Tilda Swinton’s narration to form a poetic meditation on memory and loss.

It sits somewhere between fiction and documentary, placing images of a decaying futuristic landscape – filmed in 16mm black and white in the former Yugoslav republics – against Jóhannsson’s haunting orchestral score. Jóhannsson spent seven years crafting the work before its premiere at the 2017 Manchester International Festival.

Produced by the Barbican

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, the Barbican Centre and Sydney Opera House

Film co-produced by Flanders Festival Kortrijk with the support of Gone West, Province of West Flanders

Members and Members Plus enjoy 20% off ticket prices for this show (sold out)

£15 (subject to availability)

14–25? Become a Young Barbican member.

*Excludes £3 booking fee
On sale recommencement


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black and white photo of johann johannsson

From the archive: Jóhann Jóhannsson on 'The Miners' Hymns'

In 2014, we invited Jóhann Jóhannsson on our podcast to discuss the silent film 'The Miners' Hymns' and the history - and future - of the mining communities in northeast England. Take a listen...

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Photo of Nils Frahm performing at the Barbican

Listen: Barbican Recommends

Not sure what to listen to? Every month we update our Barbican Recommends Spotify playlist with what we've been listening to in the office. Expect everything from Actress and Arcade Fire to Kamasi Washington and Omar Souleyman. 

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Members enjoy priority booking for this show, discounts on selected shows & members-only events including pre-show DJ sets in the Members’ Lounge

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