Indian music and film take centre stage at autumn concert season
The University of Sheffield’s ever-popular concert season returns from (20 September – 13 December 2012), kicking off with a spectacular series of Indian music and films in collaboration with the Showroom Cinema.
The Indian Music and Film Festival brings some of India and the UK’s most respected musicians to Sheffield to give insight into the origin of Indian classical music, its varying styles and traditions and its place in Indian culture and society.
Highlights include a concert of Urdu poetry and song by renowned vocalist Shaheen Khan and a concert on Tuesday 02 October exploring Indian percussion and stylistic form, in partnership with the London Darbar Festival – the biggest festival of Indian classical music outside of India. Bernhard Schimpelsberger (drums and cajón) Gurdain Rayatt (tabla) Pirashanna Thevarajah (mridangham) Prattyush Banerjee (sarod), musicians who have performed alongside Ravi Shankar, Nitin Sawhney, Anoushka Shankar, and Bickram Ghosh, to name a few, will take audiences on a journey of sounds from North and South Indian percussive schools, joining with modern beats to push the boundaries of tradition.
The Showroom Cinema screen two films as part of the festival – Manganiars on Thursday 20 September, a documentary about the traditional musicians and storytellers of Rajasthan, and Jai Bhim Comrade on Saturday 22 September. Fourteen years in the making, Jai Bhim Comrade is a complex musical documentary about India’s Caste System and the plight of the Dalit caste, set in Mumbai. This series of events is supported by the Sheffield Town Trust.
In association with Off the Shelf, the concert series will then turn attention to Hanns Eisler, one of the most fascinating composers of the 20th century. An enormously versatile composer, Eisler encompassed many different genres ranging from chamber works, political songs and choruses to full symphonic works and film scores. A man of strong convictions, Eisler dedicated his life to fighting political and social repression. When Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nazis’ antagonism towards the left and subsequent arrests of leftist artists caused Eisler to begin a period of exile lasting almost fifteen years, in Vienna, London, Paris, Copenhagen, New York, Mexico City and Hollywood.
On Tuesday 09 October internationally acclaimed baritone Christopher Maltman will perform Eisler’s Hollywood Songbook. Composed between 1942 and 1943 ‘Das Hollywooder Liederbuch’ is a powerful musical diary of Eisler’s experience of exile and his anxiety towards war-torn Europe. Based on poems by Brecht, Goethe, Shakespeare, Mörike and Hölderlin the work is in a mixture of styles including romantic, twelve-tone and blues, and established Eisler's reputation as one of the great masters of German lieder.
Illustrated with images and original recordings of Eisler’s music, on Wednesday 17 October, actors Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements present a dramatic reconstruction of conversations Eisler had with author and theatre director Hans Bunge in 1958, which have only recently been translated into English for the first time. This dialogue provides an insight into Eisler's political ideas and his thoughts on the social significance of music, his opposition to Hitler, his close friendship with Bertolt Brecht, and the quality of artistic, political and intellectual life of 1950’s and 1960’s Germany.
On Sunday 14 October Hanns Eisler’s academy award nominated score features in Hangmen Also Die! at the Showroom Cinema, a wartime espionage film set in Czechoslovakia during the Nazi occupation.
Later on, the season celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Debussy, one of the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Debussy produced a remarkable body of work in almost every genre, adapting his distinctive compositional style and often straying from conventional norms in form, harmony and colour. The Primavera Ensemble will perform music by Debussy and other French Composers on Tuesday 23 October. As one of Britain’s finest ensembles, the flexible mixed ensemble Primavera has created an enviable reputation with accolades and reviews at international festivals across Britain and Europe, along with many appearances on London's South Bank and at Wigmore Hall.
The season concludes with a series of concerts examining links between Canadian and British composers. On Tuesday 30 October and Tuesday 03 December renowned pianist Philip Thomas will perform new premieres of Canadian and British compositions and deliver a pre concert talk on the project. Philip Thomas specializes in performing new and experimental music and has recently won the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Chamber Music and Song, with his ensemble Apartment House.
In addition to concerts by visiting artists we also include student soloists, chamber ensembles, orchestras and choirs across our rush-hour, free lunchtime and gallery concerts.
Concerts Manager Stewart Campbell said: “I was submerged in a kaleidoscope of sights and sounds in a trip to India last summer and am thrilled a year later to feature an Indian music and film festival in the series. Including some of both India and the UK’s most respected Indian classical music, I hope the series of concerts, films and talks provide an introduction and insight into a wonderful, exciting and diverse artistic culture.”
The season is now on general sale, tickets can be purchased from Sheffield Arena Ticket Shop 0114 256 5567 or online www.sheffield.ac.uk/concerts or in person at University of Sheffield Students’ Union Box Office, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN.
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