Kings Place looks set to be London’s most vibrant, exciting new arts venue. It opens with a bang one hundred concerts over 5 days, from 1st to 5th October. This showcases what Kings Place will be presenting chamber music, jazz, baroque, cutting edge new and electronic music, folk, African and South Asian music. It’s eclectic, but what a heady mix!
Not since the Barbican opened in 1982 has there been such an ambitious new arts venture. The iconic new building, near King’s Cross station is in the up and coming canal area in the Battlebridge Basin. The main hall seats 420 people, almost as big as the Wigmore Hall, and is an architectural treasure.
All the wood which lines its walls comes from one tree, an enormous German oak. This gives a warm acoustic, and in mythology the spirit of an ancient oak brings good fortune. The second hall, seating 220, is a flexible space which can be adapted for many uses. There will also be two art galleries, offices, bars and restaurants.
This new building is perfect for music that needs intimate, human-scale performances, which makes it ideal for innovative events that don’t need huge audiences. There will be a lot of new music, since Kings Place will be home to the London Sinfonietta, the top new music orchestra in this country.
It will also be home to the Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment, which assures there’ll be plenty of early music and baroque. Kings Place also provides a focus for many other specialist groups, such as the London Chamber Music Society, the Society for the Promotion of New Music , and the Classical Opera Company.
The opening celebrations will be followed by a solid and interesting programme for the Autumn Season. The first week is “Rock Music Rock Art”, a collaboration between members of the London Sinfonietta and Ugandan musicians, artists and composers featuring concerts, drumming workshops, films and a club night. Then there’s a week of jazz before “Beethoven Unwrapped !”.
This is a really significant series, spread over eight months in one week modules, exploring Beethoven’s music in depth. The first segment, from 20th October features the piano sonatas. It’s followed in November with the string quartets. Aldeburgh comes south to Kings Place, too, in November with a mix of Britten, Exaudi and experimental music. December sees a week of Mozart and Hadyn.
For more details, and a list of the Hundred Concert schedule, visit kingsplace.co.uk. musicOMH will be covering concerts on Day 1, 1st October 2008