Saved events

John Cale (2018-1964): A Futurespective

With the London Contemporary Orchestra

Nimbly navigating both the Experimental and Pop worlds, John Cale performs a career-spanning set with help from the London Contemporary Orchestra and the House Gospel Choir.

Since before his time as the Velvet Underground’s Avant-Gardist-in-residence, Cale has been a totally uncompromising artist, embracing manifold musical approaches across his remarkable career. Tonight, backed by the LCO and House Gospel Choir, he's exploring the enormous scope of his musical output; playing selections from the Velvet Underground, the proto-minimalist songs of The Dream Syndicate – his collaboration with La Monte Young and others – and the richly enigmatic music from his landmark solo albums. Joining Cale at both shows will be abstract electronic architect Actress and the beautifully surreal songstress Cate Le Bon.

His is a difficult career to summarise succinctly – who else could have collaborated with both Terry Riley and the Happy Mondays? He’s a Classical composer and Pop genius; virtuosic violist and vitriolic Rock’n’Roller; moody Drone artist and pastoral Welsh songwriter.

Tagged with: Contemporary music

Produced by the Barbican in association with Convergence


John Cale portrait

Long read: John Cale

To describe Cale as ‘multi-layered’ somehow doesn’t go far enough – his work has always been about pushing things further: as a young classical prodigy turned avant-garde firebrand. Music journalist Arwa Haider looks back at Cale's six decade career.

Photo  of John Cale standing in front of a bamboo wall

Listen: Profile - John Cale

We highlight a small selection of songs from his fruitful career as a producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist.

photo of concrete at barbican centre

From the archive: John Cale's Drone Orchestra

Listen back to our 2014 podcast featuring John Cale, Liam Young and Robert Henke.

Shape the set list

Pick your favourite song from John’s eclectic back catalogue and complete the form below. The three most popular choices will be played at the shows and we'll randomly select three winners to receive a pair of tickets to the show of their choice.


Name Email The song I would like to hear John Cale perform at 'Futurespective' is...
I would like to receive emails from the Barbican Yes No  

The Art of Change

See how artists respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape in our 2018 season

Barbican Hall