Wednesday, July 6

Manchester Collective announces 2022/23 season

In their sixth year, Manchester Collective continue to cement their reputation as trailblazers at the forefront of new classical music programming, with a 22/23 season that presents cutting-edge performances that break down barriers and demystify the art form.

The season showcases a return to the Collective’s roots, with a programme reflecting their innovative approach to the classical repertoire and commitment to shining a spotlight on radical artistic voices from the past and present. Six groundbreaking projects will tour to 11 cities across the UK, taking audiences on a thrilling sonic journey – from the genre-busting sound of Oliver Leith to an in-depth exploration of Thomas Adès’ Arcadiana, and from a new work for electronics and string quartet by Moor Mother to George Crumb’s mind-bending Black Angels.

Collaboration and connection remain at the heart of the Collective’s programming and their 22/23 season features major projects with friends old and new, whose shared values of virtuosity and imagination reflect the ensemble’s. The Collective join boundary-smasher violinist Pekka Kuusisto for a wide-ranging set of the familiar and unfamiliar, from folk songs to Tchaikovsky; Alice Zawadzki brings a theatrical touch to a folklore-inspired programme; and kindred-spirit, guitarist Sean Shibe presents a sonic melting pot that mixes music of the Baroque with John Cage and new works from Emily Hall and Kelly Moran.

Adam Szabo and Rakhi Singh, co-founders of Manchester Collective, say: “This season is the beginning of an exciting new phase for the Collective. We’ve come through a pandemic, we’ve had our fifth birthday, and now we’re back to doing what we do best – presenting intimate, thrilling shows for audiences across the UK. We’re flexing our creative muscles with some truly ambitious work, and there really is something in the programme for everyone: as always, no two Manchester Collective projects are ever the same. The season features five world premieres, the guest artists are trailblazing, and we’re performing one of the most prescient and relevant shows we’ve ever created – WEATHER with Chris Watson.”

THE 2022/23 SEASON

•The Collective launch the season on 23-24 September 2022 with the world premiere of a new multimedia, immersive performance of Michael Gordon’s Weather, featuring a specially commissioned audio installation from BAFTA-winning sound artist Chris Watson (David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet and The Life of Birds), and a two-screen film installation from Watson’s long-time collaborator and award-winning Spanish artist Carlos Casas. Co-commissioned with the Southbank Centre, WEATHER combines real-world sound, live music and film to depict a series of natural environments around the world that have been affected and changed by extreme weather events – creating an artistic record of threatened environments that is urgent, haunting and unforgettable.

•Throughout October, the Collective present Arcadiana – a chamber recital of music written by young composers in the prime of their artistic lives. Guest Director Max Baillie leads six string players in a performance of Thomas Adès’ thoughtful meditation on change and loss, Arcadiana, written when the composer was just 24 years old. Before the performance, the Collective will present a deep-dive exploration of the work, revealing some of its musical secrets. Jörg Widmann’s blistering 180 Beats Per Minute and Brahms’ romantic String Sextet in G Major complete the programme.

•In Places We Know, the Collective welcome Finnish superstar violinist and boundary-smasher Pekka Kuusisto as their Guest Leader. Known for his innovative approach to the classical repertoire, Pekka and the Collective unite in an adventurous programme of the familiar and unfamiliar, at the heart of which is the world premiere of Oliver Leith’s new work, co-commissioned by the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. Also in the programme is a set of folk songs by Sam Amidon, Penderecki’s Serenade and Pulitzer Prize-winning Caroline Shaw’s nostalgic Plan & Elevation, all bookended by the outer movements of Tchaikovsky’s titanic Serenade for Strings – a piece full of soaring beauty and nostalgia. 

•In Bag of Bones, the Collective present the results of a major new collaboration with award-winning vocalist, violinist, songwriter and composer Alice Zawadzki.  Weaving together influences from jazz and Central European folklore, Zawadzki leads a cross-breed ensemble comprising keys, accordion, percussion and strings in a deeply personal piece of music theatre that grapples with the cultural history, intergenerational trauma and inherited stories that run back through her life to her Polish roots. The programme also includes repertoire by Cassandra Miller, Maurice Ravel and others.

•George Crumb’s cult 1970 work Black Angels is at the centre of a new show for string quartet and electronics, which tours throughout March 2022. The notoriously difficult piece makes extraordinary demands of the musicians, who are instructed to chant in foreign languages, play their instruments upside down, scream, shout, beat, count and pray. Themes of death, destiny and obsessive spirituality prevail in Crumb’s avant-garde masterpiece – performed here alongside Death and the Maiden by Schubert. The first half of the show features a new commission by New York hip-hop artist, activist and composer Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother), alongside music by Edmund Finnis and Gabriella Smith.

•In Rosewood, Scottish star guitarist Sean Shibe joins forces with Manchester Collective for the first time in an artistic meeting of minds, presenting a kaleidoscopic set in which he performs on both electric and acoustic guitars alongside the Collective’s string quartet. The programme features a dizzying range of music, from Baroque to American minimalism. At the heart of the show are a pair of new works – British artist Emily Hall writes music that inhabits the spaces between the classical and electronic genres whilst New York composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Kelly Moran walks an artistic tightrope poised somewhere between the experimental, the wild and the human. 

From some of the country’s finest concert halls to underground music venues, partners this season include: Future Yard in Birkenhead, St George’s Bristol, Strange Brew in Bristol, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, Howard Assembly Room in Leeds, Slung Low in Leeds, Tung Auditorium in Liverpool, Kings Place in London, Southbank Centre in London, Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, Lakeside Arts in Nottingham, Richmondshire Concerts, Saffron Hall in Saffron Walden, and The White Hotel in Salford.

For full programme details, visit www.manchestercollective.co.uk

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