Happy New Year from the biting point to all our readers!!!
We’d firstly like to apologise for our quiet period towards the end of 2011, mainly caused by the fact that we were too busy and poor to see any concerts or have any opinions. (Although we’d like to remind you that – even if we’re having a rest – you can always rely on a good read over at Greg Sandow’s blog where, in amongst the baby pictures, he’s recently made some excellent and quite controversial points about music education outreach and performers’ publicity photos.) We hope to be able to post more frequently now that the new year is upon us, especially since there is a lot coming up that we’re very excited about. Hence, here is a brief and cursory overview of some of London’s potential musical highlights over the next few months…
the biting point in LONDON, winter/spring 2012…
- There is so much going on at the Barbican over the next few months, centring on a residency from the Kronos Quartet in late January, with three enticingly-programmed concerts happening across three venues. Then there is an invasion of erudite pop auteur collaborations spanning the season, ranging from Jonny Greenwood and Penderecki, through the Britten Sinfonia’s presentation of new concertos from Nico Muhly and Owen Pallett, to our finally getting the chance to hear Rufus Wainwright perform his Shakespeare Sonnets with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The National’s Dessner brothers present a full-length multimedia concert in The Long Count, and Bryce Dessner adds his voice to a (tragically sold-out) collaboration with Muhly and Sufjan Stevens in April. Tyondai Braxton and Nick Zammuto (of the Books) contribute to a very exciting, evening-length conceptual project by Bang on a Can, while, most bizarrely of all, the Mountain Goats perform with early music vocal consort Anonymous 4. On top of all that, the Barbican cements its position as our favourite big-deal London venue with full performances (with varying degrees of staging) of Einstein on the Beach, Harvey’s Wagner Dream and Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
- Over at the Southbank Centre, highlights should include a showcase by the London Sinfonietta of the composer Olga Neuwirth, who takes inspiration from eccentric synth-chansonnier Klaus Nomi. Although its hardly Sufjan Stevens, they’re also hosting a collaborative concert between the NYO and Bellowhead, as well as continuing their rather slight alternative programming with the Harmonic Series and the Night Shift. They are however presenting Conlon Nancarrow’s complete player piano studies, using instruments identical to Nancarrow’s own, which could be pretty great.
- Nonclassical up the ante with their very exciting upcoming night (January 19th) at XOYO, Shoreditch, featuring minimalism for full orchestral forces, and a headline DJ set from J.D Twitch. They’re also collaborating with the Rambert Dance Company, as part of the Southbank’s Prokofiev season, in an ‘interpretation’ of (Sergei’s) ballet Trapeze. It’s free, although they’re also calling it an ‘hour-long classical club night’ which I think might be a contradiction in terms.
- Nonclassical are also taking part in Reverb 2012 at the Roundhouse. Ostensibly showcasing a ‘new wave of boundary-shattering classical performers’ (‘come and join the revolution…’, they implore), this 5-concert festival in late Feb/early March includes a very exciting programme from the London Contemporary Orchestra, as well as the obligatory Night Shift, a themed concert from Aurora Orchestra, and strangely enough, Imogen Heap. Also a choir competition. Not wholly revolutionary perhaps (and rather hijacked by the Olympics), but definitely something for everyone.
- As far as opera goes, we have ENO‘s London stage premiere (!) of The Death of Klinghoffer in late Feb, while the ROH fulfil their yearly quota of new works by staging the UK premiere of Weir’s Miss Fortune in March (promised to include ‘breakdancing and a burning kebab van’). OperaUpClose have a new production of La Fanciulla del West coming up (and set in Soho), and headphone-toting Silent Opera return with their obligatory take on La Boheme. Also, as you’ll no doubt hear endlessly more of, the biting point’s own house company – Carmen Elektra - make their London debut on March 23rd, with a one-off opera club night in a multi-storey factory building in Peckham.
- Kings Place continue their Out Hear series, with upcoming performances from ensemblebash and CHROMA, amongst all the Brahms (deargod so much Brahms).
I am thinking of starting a London calendar for events that the biting point considers particularly intriguing. Do leave a comment, readers, if there are any other upcoming events that you think we’d be interested in. One of our new year’s resolutions is to try and build more of a sense of community around this and similar sites and publications.
Cool cool welcome back…