Venus Unwrapped - Women in Music

Venus Unwrapped - Women in Music

London’s Kings Place presents a unique sequence of works by women producers, musicians and composers in their Venus Unwrapped series, includes several Music Sales composers such as Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Julia Wolfe, Sofia Gubaidulina, Missy Mazzoli, Kaija Saariaho and Judith Weir.

Across twelve months and more than sixty events in 2019, Venus Unwrapped bring music by women, 'a shadow canon that begins with the music of medieval nuns, moves on to gifted professionals working in the European courts, the stifling world of the 19th-century drawing room, radical voices of the 20th century and into an explosion of creativity from female artists today in all genres.'

The series embraces more than one hundred composers from classical to electronica, jazz to folk, contemporary to comedy. Below is a selection of the most prominent events including Music Sales composers.

Bang on a Can/BBC Singers: Wolfe, Gordon and Thorvaldsdottir
King's Place, London, UK, Hall One
18 January and 19 January 2019 (click for more info)

New York’s electric Bang on a Can All-Stars team up with BBC Singers and conductor Tecwyn Evans on 18 January to perform Reeling and Believing by Julia Wolfe, Gene Takes a Drink by Michael Gordon, as well as the UK premiere of Fields by Anna Thorvaldsdottir. They will also be presenting the UK premiere of Anthracite Fields on the following evening, Wolfe’s thrilling examination of the coal-mining industry which won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2015

Gabriela Montero/Scottish Ensemble: Glass and Shostakovich
King's Place, London, UK, Hall One
15 February 2019 (click for more info)

Gabriela Montero, the world-class Venezuelan pianist, renowned for her live improvisations, is also an artist standing against social injustice with the first Honorary Consul for Amnesty International. This programme from the Scottish Ensemble includes Barshai’s arrangement of Tenth String Quartet by Dmitri Shostakovich – a piercing response to the devastating Soviet regime – as well as the deeply compassionate Echorus by Philip Glass.

Joanna MacGregor: Sofia Gubaidulina
King's Place, London, UK, Hall One
28 February 2019 (click for more info)

Joanna MacGregor is one of world’s most innovative musicians, featuring as both concert pianist and curator. Her remarkable programme brings together Beethoven with some of the most outstanding female composers, including the Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina and her cataclysmic and forceful Chaconne.

Aurora Orchestra: Missy Mazzoli
King's Place, London, UK, Hall One
5 April 2019 (click for more info)

One of the most distinctive voices of contemporary music today, American composer Missy Mazzoli writes experimental music with nods to classical, indie rock and pop. In her double bass concerto Dark with Excessive Bright, jointly commissioned by Aurora Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, she creates a soaring soundscape based on Baroque idioms that twists a pattern of repeated chords beyond recognition. Explaining her choice of title, Mazzoli said: ‘Dark with excessive bright, a phrase from Milton's Paradise Lost, is a surreal and evocative description of God, written by a blind man. I love the impossibility of this phrase, and felt it was a strangely accurate way to describe the dark but heartrending sound of the double bass itself.’ Nicholas Collon conducts the UK premiere with Aurora Orchestra and double bassist Ben Griffiths as soloist.

Southbank Sinfonia: Britten, Górecki and Lutosławski
King's Place, London, UK, Hall One
23 May 2019(click for more info)

Witold Lutosławski deeply admired the Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz: ‘She was born with an incredible wealth of musical talent, an almost fanatical zeal and unwavering faith in her mission.’ Asked if her music would last, he said ‘true judgement of creative ability does not belong to contemporary reviewers, but to thousands of audiences over many decades, which may be referred to as the jury of time.’ His haunting Musique funèbre will feature as part of this homage to Bacewicz which also includes the playful Simple Symphony by Benjamin Britten and Three pieces in the old style by Henryk Mikolaj Górecki.

Theatre of Voices: Kaija Saariaho
King's Place, London, UK, Hall One
27 September 2019 (click for more info)

Paul Hillier and his acclaimed Theatre of Voices have a strong connection with Kaija Saariaho and her works. During this performance they will sing her beguiling Nuits, adieux for four voices and electronics, amongst a powerful selection of contemporary choral works from the Baltic States.

Midori: Sofia Gubaidulina
King's Place, London, UK, Hall One
8 November 2019 (click for more info)

Renowned violinist, educator and cultural leader Midori brings to Venus Unwrapped her unique sequence of works by living female composers. At its centre is Dancer on a Tightrope, a poetic masterpiece by Sofia Gubaidulina, in which the violinist performs a spectacular daring act above the otherworldly sounds of the prepared piano.

Fidelio Trio: Judith Weir
King's Place, London, UK, Hall Two
25 November 2019 (click for more info)

Darragh Morgan of the Fidelio Trio, one of the world’s leading piano trios, explains why Piano Trio Two by Judith Weir is a key work for their programme: ‘I met Judith Weir some 20 years ago in the west of Ireland on a summer school. I remember being enchanted by her conversation that first evening and have continued to be enchanted by her and her Piano Trio Two ever since ­– it never loses its otherworldly beauty.’

Full programme and more information about the Venus Unwrapped series available here.

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