RNCM to perform music by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood alongside a première performance with Ólafur Arnalds

Thursday 1 July, 7.30pm, The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) will present a night of avant-garde experimentalism conducted by André de Ridder, who led the première performances of Damon Albarn’s highly successful Monkey: Journey to the West for the Manchester International Festival. Performing pieces written nearly a hundred years apart by the hugely influential Stravinsky as well as Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, young Icelandic phenomenon Ólafur Arnalds and contemporary composer Avner Dorman, the night is a great introduction to the overlap between classical and popular music.


As the guitarist for Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood has helped push the boundaries of rock music by integrating electronics and unconventional song structures; he is also a classically trained violinist and contemporary composer. The RNCM Symphony Orchestra will open the evening with Popcorn Superhet Receiver, his brilliant slice of avant-garde romanticism. Taking its name from a shortwave radio catalogue and inspired by ‘white noise’, excerpts from the track featured in the film There Will Be Blood. Rolling Stone magazine described it as ‘redefining what is possible in film scores.’ He won the BBC Radio 3 Listeners’ Award at the 2006 BBC British Composers awards and the Best Film Score in the Evening Standards British Film Awards for the piece.


Greenwoodis becoming known as a film composer and his most recent composition, Doghouse, will appear on the soundtrack of the film version of Haruki Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood. Healso played guitar in the fictional band, The Weird Sisters, in the film of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, alongside fellow Radiohead member Phil Selway and Jarvis Cocker.


Israeli composer Avner Dorman’s double-percussion concerto, Spices, Perfumes, Toxins!, mixes Middle-Eastern drums with orchestral percussion, rock drums and orchestral forces to create a unique sound that is both beguiling and dangerous. RNCM students Daniel Jones and Toby Kearney, as DYAD Percussion Duo, will take the percussion parts in the UK première of this piece.


At the centre of the evening’s music is Igor Stravinsky’s seminal and highly-influential score The Rite of Spring, which caused a riot at its 1913 Paris première and established the composer as the prince of the avant-garde. The intensely rhythmic score and primitive scenario (a pagan girl dancing herself to death) shocked audiences, and has continued to surprise and intrigue ever since. The piece has gone on to influence many alternative and experimental artists. 


The final part of the event features Icelandic pianist and composer Ólafur Arnalds. His exploration of the space between classical and pop generates a uniquely graceful musical language, mixing strings and piano with loops and edgy beats to create songs that bridge the gap between classical to pop. Following a sell-out show at the Barbican and opening for Sigur Rós on the band’s last European tour, he recently embarked on his own world tour performing songs from his new album, ?and they have escaped the weight of darkness, with a string quartet and piano. For this performance, he has written brand new arrangements of his album tracks for the RNCM Concert Orchestra and will perform with them in this world première. His album was released in May and has received rave reviews –The Quietus said it is ‘hotwired to the soul ? will reduce you to wordless tears,’ and UNCUT described it as ‘timeless and sublime’.


Throughout the evening in the Hall’s foyers RNCM ensembles will perform arrangements of songs from Radiohead’s Kid A, The Bends and In Rainbows albums.


Tickets £20 from:

www.rncm.ac.uk 0161 907 5555

www.bridgewater-hall.co.uk 0161 907 9000

www.ticketweb.co.uk 08444 771000

www.seetickets.com 0870 264 3333

www.ticketline.co.uk 0844 888 9991


For further information or press tickets please contact Fiona Davidson on 0161 907 5369 or fiona.davidson(at)rncm.ac.uk

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