NZ musos take over London's Kings Place — 27.10.11

A group of New Zealand's top musicians, composers and writers will take over London's hottest new venue, Kings Place, in March next year for a week-long festival of New Zealand music, poetry and ideas.

Included in the line-up of a week-long Festival of New Zealand music, poetry and ideas are Arts Foundation Award recipients: Jonathan Lemalu, Madeleine Pierard and Richard Nunns (with the New Zealand String Quartet).  They will perform works by New Zealand composers including Gillian Karawe Whitehead, John Psathas and Jack Body.

Other participating artists are:  Gao Ping, Ross Harris and Michael Norris.

Kings Place, which opened in 2008, is a state-of-the-art performance space and has an innovative programming concept, turning over the curation of its weekly programmes to the artists themselves.

The New Zealand at Kings Place story began in 2008 when the New Zealand String Quartet was in London during a nine-concert European tour. Kings Place invited the Quartet to offer a group of programmes for a future week. The result is New Worlds: New Perspectives, three programmes of music with the theme of migration across oceans, centuries and cultural boundaries.

"The musicians and composers of our concert series have traveled between an old world and a new one, have explored ancient and modern cultures and bring a contemporary view to folk and classical traditions," says Helene Pohl, first violinist of the Quartet.

"We've chosen to contrast fascinating new works by New Zealand composers, drawing on cultures as diverse as Greek, Chinese and Maori, with the spiritual journeys of Beethoven and Schubert."

Peter Millican, visionary Chief Executive of Kings Place, was captured by the range of influences in the programmes. "King's Place is very much looking forward to your week in 2012," he wrote recently. "It is particularly appropriate that in the [London] Olympic year we are welcoming such an outstanding quartet from New Zealand."

To complement the Quartet's programmes, the short festival includes two other sessions. In the regular Kings Place "Words on Monday" slot, three generations of New Zealand poets, Fleur Adcock, Bill Manhire and performance poet Tusiata Avia, will read from their work, demonstrating what Manhire has described as New Zealand's cultural shift "from old Europe to the new Pacific".

For the experimental "OutHear" session, composer and director of Stroma Michael Norris has curated a programme called "The Body Electric", in which a younger generation of New Zealand composers including Norris himself, John Coulter, Dugal McKinnon, John Croft, Alexandra Hay and Chris Black explore concepts of body and space by combining live musicians with electronics and multimedia.

The programmes take place between 26 and 31 March 2012.

(Source: Voxy News)