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The British Museum Hosts First Major Music Festival

Get down in a gallery from 16 - 29 April.

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From 16 – 29 April 2018, ‘Europe and the world: a symphony of cultures’ will open up a dialogue between works of classical and contemporary music and the British Museum’s extraordinary collection.

The British Museum Hosts First Major Music Festival

Coral Madrigal

Coral Madrigal

The festival includes works by European composers, who focus on Europe’s interaction with other global cultures. The musical performances in the galleries will invite visitors to perceive synergies between cultures and across centuries, thus creating echoes of the past and present. Musical and physical forms of art will juxtapose in interesting ways, such as in an evening of Japanese orchestral music from the 7th century – first heard at the Imperial Court in Kyoto and following strict ceremonial rules – among the imposing stone sculptures of Ancient Egypt. Works by composers including Ligeti, Berio, Stockhausen, Liszt, Messiaen, Strauss, Bartók and Nono, will be featured alongside performances devoted to historic musical traditions from different parts of the world, including medieval temple music from China, classical music from India, Spanish colonial and flamenco music and Byzantine choral music.

Performers include the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble für Intuitive Musik Weimar, Accademia del Piacere, Zhang Jun and his Kunqu Ensemble, Kaushiki Charkraborty and Ensemble, and Reigakusha Ensemble Tokyo.

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As part of the festival, the historic Reading Room will be used for special performances. These performances include the closing concert of the festival by the Arditti Quartet, and repeat performances over both festival weekends of Ligeti’s Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes. Panel discussions will explore the role of museums in complex political times, continuing themes initiated in an international symposium held in Dresden in September 2017.

Europe and the world: a symphony of cultures runs from 16th – 29th April 2018. Organised by the British Museum and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and supported by the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany. Presented in association with BBC Radio 3.