Playing: Nocturne - Insomnia by Thomas Larcher
BBC Radio 3

In harmony: Barbican and BBC Symphony Orchestra

BBC Symphony Orchestra

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We've just started preparing for Friday's concert at the Barbican, part of the Barbican’s gloriously-titled weekend A Scream and An Outrage curated by that dynamic bundle of creative energy, the American composer Nico Muhly. It's an ideal opportunity for the BBC Singers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra to work together and the musicians of both groups love such projects. Recent collaborations have included John Adams's iconic opera Nixon in China in London and Berlin, and Donizetti’s rarely-performed opera Belisario at the Barbican - now that I manage both ensembles there will be more such collaborations.

Friday's concert includes the world premiere of Nico Muhly's a cappella work Outrage, performed by the BBC Singers (a Barbican Centre/BBC co-commission), and Paola Prestini's multi-media cantata Oceanic Verses (European premiere of a new version) in which three amplified soloists and the BBC Singers perform texts by Donna di Novelli, alongside the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by American conductor Jayce Ogren.

To watch a video in which David Lang introduces his percussion concerto 'man made', follow this link ...

Here, you can watch part of the rehearsal for the world premiere of  'man made', with So Percussion (Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski and Jason Treuting), and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jayce Ogren ...

BBCSO - David Lang Percussion Concerto - 'man made' (rehearsal at Maida Vale studios)

Our part in the weekend - we're more involved in the Outrage than the Scream - is based on collaboration and is just the latest in a series of events that, over more than a decade, the BBC SO and Barbican have jointly presented. For me, most things in life are more enjoyable if you do them with somebody else, and collaboration is the way I like to work. The Barbican is a brilliant partner, whether on a silent movie, an opera, a marathon 'event' like this one, or a composer celebration. Over the years, we've developed a sort of creative shorthand that comes from mutual trust, curiosity, and artistic ambition that means together we can present what neither of us can do on our own, and neither party is afraid to ask 'what's in it for us?' These sorts of projects reinforce the decision, taken in 1999, to relocate the BBCSO's base to the Barbican.

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