With so much going on in London the whole time, it is very easy just to live from day to day. Some events, however, are worth thinking that little bit ahead for, simply to ensure that we don’t miss out on the most prized tickets. This is certainly true of Reverb 2012, the festival of cutting-edge contemporary classical music that now appears at the Roundhouse in less than three weeks’ time (24-26 February and 3-4 March).
Reverb 2012 celebrates a new generation of performers who have broken away from staging ‘traditional’ classical concerts, redefined the rules and shattered boundaries. The Roundhouse, with its unique space, atmosphere and heritage, is at the forefront of seeing artists create new music with inspiring visuals and genre-defying collaborations.
In this Olympic year, the theme of Reverb 2012 is love and truce, and the calibre of the performers could not be higher. The festival begins on 24 February with The Night Shift, which sees the 90-piece Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Sir Mark Elder, recreating the sounds of 19th-century Paris in Hector Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet. The evening also includes live sets from the Roundhouse Music Collective with their unique blend of alternative classical, jazz and electronica, and DJs throughout the Roundhouse foyers. In the lead-up to their Roundhouse performance, players from the OAE will be touring pubs all over London spreading that unique Night Shift atmosphere right across the capital.
Other highlights include the Aurora Orchestra on 25 February performing Love Song for the City, which moves from the desolate post-war German cities of Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen to the dizzying growth of modern New York as imagined by Michael Gordon in Gotham. Throughout, Bill Morrison’s breathtaking black-and-white film enriches this visceral contemporary classic. The following evening sees Imogen Heap perform her a cappella soundtrack for the 1928 French surrealist silent film The Seashell and the Clergyman, with acclaimed UK choir The Holst Singers.
In this short space we can only mention a few of the performances on offer, and indeed only some of the ‘acts’ within each concert, so we recommend that you check out the Reverb 2012 website for full details. All performances will be streamed live on the Roundhouse website and on Roundhouse Radio but, since there’s nothing quite like the live experience, we recommend that you make a date with one or more of the innovative performances on offer.
Photo: Reverb 2012 opens with The Night Shift, performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under the baton of Sir Mark Elder, © Joe Plommer