On the evening of Saturday 7 June, the London Philharmonic Orchestra performs the world première of Excite! at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, conducted by its Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski. Composed jointly by Eugene Skeef and Richard Bissill, in collaboration with the Orange award-winning writer Alan Gilmour and artist Louise Camrass, this new work is based around the question: What is your London?
Since the London Philharmonic Orchestra was born, its home city has changed almost beyond recognition. How have we reached where we are? How have we shaped our city? Where do we go from here? London has brought many people together. There are more nationalities here than in almost any other world city, and Excite! highlights the Orchestra’s involvement with its diverse local communities, celebrating their many journeys as well as ours.
The three disciplines of music, words and art used in the piece were workshopped at the first stage of its creative process with several community groups. The resulting poem by Alan Gilmour – taken from writings created in the community, in schools, with a group of Ghanaian women, with students and with players from the orchestra and its staff – provided the stimulus for complementary artwork by Louise Camrass. The second stage of the creative process was the writing of the piece, with the poem as its centrepiece and ‘libretto’. The result is a 40-minute work scored for the LPO , the Renga Players (an off-shoot ensemble of LPO players who work together in non-classical western idioms), the London Philharmonic Choir, the London Adventist Chorale and VoiceLab Swell.
A newly launched Excite! website (www.lpoexcite.org.uk) will enable visitors to find out more about every stage of the Excite! project. It also offers opportunities for everyone to get involved by uploading their own images, texts and music to represent their own visions of London.
The first half of this concert includes works with a Latin American theme – Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and Graeme Koehne’s Powerhouse – and opens with Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.
Saturday 7 June 7.30pm
Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall
Vladimir Jurowski conductor
London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Philharmonic Choir
London Adventist Chorale
Nikki Iles piano
Mick Foster saxophone
Martin Hathaway saxophone
Copland Fanfare for the Common Man
Bernstein Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Bissill/Skeef Excite! (world première)
Tickets are priced between £6 - £20 and can be booked through the London Philharmonic Orchestra Box Office on 020 7840 4242 (Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm , no fee) and Southbank Centre Box Office on 0871 663 2530 (Daily, 9.30am – 8pm , £1.50 transaction fee).
Complementing the main evening event, will be a series of free satellite events during Excite! week in the Royal Festival Hall foyer spaces, as well as an installation of images, words and thoughts of people across the capital. These events include:
Sunday 1 June, 1.30pm
Clore Ballroom Floor
An open vocal workshop led by Eugene Skeef
Saturday 7 June, 5.30pm
Clore Ballroom Floor
London Philharmonic’s Open Ear Orchestra ( LPO players and community musicians) take inspiration from the question, 'What is your London ?' in a specially created pre-concert performance, directed by Phil Mullen.