Musical month celebrates links with London

Verbal Arts Centre executive director James Kerr with Elliot Murphy ringing the bell to launch the City of London Festival and a series of music events in Derry to mark the connections between the two cities. Elliott was chosen because his mother and father are from London and Derry respectively. (2506PG31)
Verbal Arts Centre executive director James Kerr with Elliot Murphy ringing the bell to launch the City of London Festival and a series of music events in Derry to mark the connections between the two cities. Elliott was chosen because his mother and father are from London and Derry respectively. (2506PG31)

The Link between Derry and London is to be celebrated in a month long feast of classical music.

A diverse programme of events includes a world premiere, collaborations with the City of London festival and a residency residency by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

From July 3 to August 4 Derry will see a number of pieces played simultaneously in London and the UK City of Culture, 400 years after the link was forged between the two cities.

In addition a feast of well-known classical pieces will be performed including, fittingly in a year of celebration, a rendition of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony ‘Ode To Joy’ by the National Youth Orchestra on their first visit to the north.

The first classical performance of the season will be the world premiere of ‘At Sixes and Sevens’, performed concurrently in the two Guildhalls of London and Derry.

At Sixes and Sevens will consist of nine movements written by the Pulitzer- Prize winning Northern Irish poet Paul Muldoon and the composer Mark- Anthony Turnage. The work will be interspersed with further sections devised by communities in Derry and London. ‘

It will be the first performance in the newly reopened Guildhall following it’s £9.5million restoration.

Graeme Farrow, Executive programmer for the Culture Company said; “Following on the heels of the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend and Music City, it is now time for classical music to have its moment in the City of Culture celebrations. The quality and calibre of classical music on offer this summer is certainly the best this city has ever seen.

“We’re delighted to be working with the City of London Festival, Derry’s Verbal Arts Centre and others to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the city walls through the world premiere of the highly anticipated Muldoon-Turnage collaboration, At Sixes and Sevens. We also look forward to the National Youth Orchestra’s groundbreaking residency during their first ever visit to Northern Ireland. As the city celebrates a classical summer, the restoration of the iconic Guildhall adds to the revitalised heart of our city bringing new opportunities for performances, civic and public access.”

The Walled City Music Festival takes centre stage for one week (July 19th- 26th).

The festival celebrates the 400 year connection of the City of Derry and City of London with two major new works ‘The River Still Sings’ and ‘Trees, Walls and Cities’, produced in partnership between Walled City Music and the City of London Festival. The newly commissioned cycle for the Brodsky Quartet, ‘Trees, Walls and Cities’ will be performed simultaneously in walled cities across Europe linking Derry, the City of London, Utrecht, Berlin, Vienna, Dubrovnik, Nicosia and Jerusalem in creative reconciliation.

In both works the strategic importance to London and Derry of rivers, walls and trees is central to its thematic concept. Combined with performers such as Katia and Marielle Labeque, Krill Troussov, Cathal Breslin, Jeffery Zeigler and a special narration from James Nesbitt, the Walled City Festival will be a classical music enthusiast’s dream week.

The Classical season will conclude in style when the National Youth Orchestra enters the City of Culture. Performing in Northern Ireland for the first time, the UK’s biggest, most exciting, completely teenage orchestra brings its voracious musical energy to the living rooms, streets and concert halls of Derry, with an additional visit to Belfast, for 10 days this summer.

Celebrating Derry’s award as the UK City of Culture, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain collaborates with three youth choirs, the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, the Irish Youth Chamber Choir and Codetta.

This epic force will deliver a music extravaganza at Millennium Forum, Derry and Belfast’s Waterfront Hall. Conducted by Vasily Petrenko and joined by world-class soloists, the 400 teenagers celebrate the commission of Beethoven’s ground-breaking Symphony no. 9, one of the most renowned works of art of all time.

As they prepare for the London Proms, the stars of the NYO will take time to duet with the upcoming talent of Derry in their homes and around the city, as part of the music education programme, The Music Promise.