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Scotland Unwrapped

A weave of words and music

Welcome to Scotland Unwrapped, the 16th edition of our award-winning year-long series. Celebrating Scottish music and spoken word culture, the series will highlight both its traditional and regional riches but also explore the diverse contemporary scene and the writers and composers which give Scotland its distinctive voice. As well as covering a wide range of musical genres from cutting-edge contemporary composers, folk musicians and Scottish classical ensembles, Scotland Unwrapped also embraces the heady literary scene and wealth of Scottish festivals.

Scotland Unwrapped features Artist in Residence Karine Polwart and Guest Curators Aidan O’Rourke and Jackie Kay.

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HebCelt Festival Spotlight

HebCelt Festival Spotlight

HebCelt takes place annually on the picturesque Lews Castle Green in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. Over its 26-year history, the festival has grown from a small event attracting less than 1,000 fans to an international showpiece for roots, Celtic and traditional music, with record attendances of over 19,500 in 2023.

In that time, it has generated more than £34 million for the local economy. It was crowned Best Cultural Event or Festival at the 2018 Scottish Thistle Awards and it won a Highly Commended accolade at A Greener Festival Awards. It also scooped the Festival of the Year award and the Grand Prix prize at the 2018 Scottish Event Awards and has twice been named Best Cultural Event or Festival in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, as well as being named Event of the Year at the 2022 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.

HebCelt Chair of the Board, Gayle Findlay, said: “It’s fantastic that HebCelt is going to be part of the Scotland Unwrapped series at Kings Place, with some wonderful artists who have previously played the festival representing us. It’s a great opportunity for music lovers in London to get a taste of HebCelt and see how we do things here in Stornoway, and to celebrate the amazing music and rich culture on offer.”

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Master Series

We shall never become musicians unless we understand the ideals of temperance, fortitude, liberality and magnificence’ Plato

In our annual Master Series, we present renowned artists in recital in the radiant acoustic of Hall One, an intimate space expressly designed for the purpose. We invite them to play the music they love best, the greatest works of the classical canon.

The 2023/24 season opens with acclaimed baroque violinist Rachel Podger – recently announced as Kings Place’s Artist in Focus – on 21 September with her BBC Music Magazine Award-winning project Tutta Sola.

The Diotima Quartet – one of the most in-demand chamber ensembles in the world – returns in October to perform modern masterpieces for string quartet by Janácek and Ligeti.

In November star soprano Danielle de Niese, joined by pianist and frequent collaborator Matthew Fletcher, presents an American songbook-inspired programme, interspersed with arias from operas by Mozart, Handel, Bizet, Dvořák and Gounod, displaying the versatility of de Niese’s.

Internationally-renowned guitarist Xuefei Yang collaborates with cellist Johannes Moser for a varied programme celebrating music from across the centuries in March next year.

And finally Chiaroscuro Quartet returns to close series, performing Beethoven’s Razumovsky quartets along with Haydn’s String Quartet in D Minor Op.9, June 2024.

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d&b Soundscape System Events

We are thrilled to have d&b audiotechnik’s state-of-the-art d&b Soundscape system in our flexible Hall Two space. A revolution in the live sound experience, d&b Soundscape is an alternative to the traditional left and right stereo system, using up to 28 loudspeakers to open up a plethora of creative possibilities for artists to reinforce their sound. The following shows will all be using the d&b Soundscape system.

d&b audiotechnik has a creative partnership with Kings Place to introduce artists and develop new projects using Soundscape. Find out more about the technology on our Magazine.

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The Guilty Feminist

Ever felt you should be better at feminism? Join comedian Deborah Frances-White for her comedy podcast, recorded in front of a live audience. Each episode Deborah and her guests discuss topics ‘all 21st century feminists agree on’ while confessing the insecurities, hypocrisies and fears that underlie their lofty principles. The podcast has been a huge success with over 20,000,000 downloads since it started in December 2015.

Previous guests have included Jo Brand, Andi Osho, Sarah Millican, Jenny Eclair, Susan Wokoma, Sara Pascoe, Jessamyn Stanley and Gemma Arterton.

‘Screamingly funny. Everyone is talking about them talking.’ Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Guardian
‘Presenters and guests set themselves challenges with invariably hilarious outcomes.’ The Economist

Deborah is an award-winning writer, comedian and corporate speaker. Her comedy series Rolls the Dice has had two series on BBC Radio 4 and she wrote the screenplay for the movie Say My Name.

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Kirckman at Kings Place

The Kirckman Concert Society was founded by Geraint Jones and Calton Younger in 1963 to promote young artists of exceptional talent.

The Society’s panel of distinguished musicians has developed a reputation for ‘spotting’ tomorrow’s stars in the making. The Society offers its young musicians a London platform as well as the possibility of concerts further afield; and while these artists are not yet household names, concert-goers have a unique opportunity to hear for themselves the exciting promise which these artists offer.

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Noh Reimagined

Noh Reimagined 2024: Sumidagawa and Kinuta – Classics of Noh Tragedy 

Noh Reimagined festival returns in June celebrating two masterpieces of traditional Japanese theatre, Sumidagawa and Kinuta. Curated and produced by Akiko Yanagisawa (Mu Arts) in partnership with Kings Place, the biannual festival unwraps the art of Noh, the iconic theatre tradition that originated in fourteenth-century Japan, and offers a creative platform for genre-defying, cross-cultural collaborations, connecting tradition with contemporary life and culture.

Sumidagawa by Kanze Motomasa (c. 1394-1432) is one of the most renowned Noh plays and has inspired countless artists over the years, including Benjamin Britten for his opera Curlew River. This performance at Kings Place is one of only two in the UK and the only performance in London, with the other taking place at this year’s Aldeburgh Festival. It also features a newly written English re-telling of the story by Xanthe Gresham Knight. Kinuta is believed to be the last and greatest work by Zeami Motokiyo (c.1363 – c.1443), who established Noh of the current style almost 600 years ago.

Starring some of the most esteemed Noh performers from Japan, including Mikata Shizuka as the mother in Sumidagawa and the wife in Kinuta, Noh Reimagined 2024 offers a unique opportunity to experience the enduring power of classical drama alongside workshops, talks and more.

What is Noh? Learn the basics here.
Read ‘Noh, an art of contrasts’ feature by Diego Pellecchia
Photo gallery on Noh Reimagined website.

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Aurora Orchestra - Far, Far Away

Combining live instrumental performance of the highest calibre with original storytelling and a playful, multi-sensory approach to concert presentation, Far, Far Away is the perfect way to introduce young children to music.

Each concert explores a particular composer or style of music, weaving together stunning live performances with an original story from Aurora Orchestra’s Writer-in-Residence Kate Wakeling and a beautifully designed set built around the audience and musicians. Audiences are invited to step inside each story through guided listening, singing, dancing, holding props and much more, becoming immersed in a magical world of music, language, discovery and play.

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An exciting virtual Kings Place has emerged and our audience can now experience events streamed live at home via KPlayer.

For information on how to use KPlayer please refer to our guide or see the KPlayer FAQ.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Politics

Political commentator and broadcaster, Steve Richards, presents the latest behind-the-scenes guide to the epic dramas and the characters shaping seismic events. How have we got here? What’s going to happen next? Are there any answers to these questions? Come along and find out.

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IGF Guitar Summit

IGF Guitar Summit 

Live the ultimate guitar experience! 

IGF Guitar Summit is back at Kings Place for three days of concerts, workshops, and masterclasses with the world’s greatest guitarists! We welcome the return of one of the greatest jazz guitarists in the history of the form: Biréli Lagrène, master classical guitarist David Russell and young Flamenco Duo. There are also lunchtime concerts by extraordinarily talented young classical guitarists on our Young Artist Platform.

Come and feast your ears on the world’s most popular and versatile instrument the guitar! And don’t forget to bring your own guitar and take part in our unique workshops and masterclasses.

Tom Kerstens
Artistic Director

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London Podcast Festival

Our first London Podcast Festival 2024 announcements features If I Speak…, The Sporkful, Jameela Jamil, Like Minded Friends with Tom Allen & Suzi Ruffell, The History Hotline, Secretly Incredibly Fascinating, Three Bean Salad, Beef and Dairy Network, Tommy’s Brownload, Big Kick Energy, Black Prose, Drunk Huns Solving Ghosts, Wrestle Me, Chart Music: The TOTP Podcast, The Greatest Generation, Mixed Up and The Way They Were with many more yet to be announced!

Produced by London’s home of live podcasting, Kings Place, the festival runs from 5 – 15 September with a programme that celebrates the best in UK and international podcasting talent. Taking place in front of a live audience at Kings Place, the festival is a chance to celebrate the fast-growing popularity of podcasts whilst giving listeners the chance to meet their favourite podcast hosts. A number of the events will be livestreamed to audiences across the world via KPlayer, the Kings Place pay-per-view platform. The London Podcast Festival was founded by Kings Place in 2016 and has since welcomed over 60,000 visitors and over 700 podcasters.

Keep an eye on our X (Twitter) and Instagram pages for many more guests, shows and surprises!

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Future Folk: Contemporary Sounds from Traditional Roots

Future Folk: Contemporary Sounds from Traditional Roots

Kings Place is proud to present the return of Future Folk, our series showcasing emerging artists creating and reshaping music inspired by folk traditions in new, progressive ways for contemporary audiences. Across an initial set of four events in 2024/25, we will put these talented musicians centre stage in a time when breakthrough acts can easily become lost in the current economic realities of folk music programming.

The series offers an exciting opportunity to discover new music. In 2024, join us and experience Tarren’s modular hooks and minimalist forms, the “Extraordinary” (Jools Holland) Frankie Archer, and Kora player Jali Bakary Konteh, the latest torchbearer for his family’s kora legacy on the world stage. In 2025, we welcome George Sansome and Sophie Crawford, founders of Queer Folk – an organisation which researches queer music and champions LGBTQIA+ musicians. Since finding a wealth of LGBTQIA+ folk music in the archives, they now perform these songs together accompanied by guitar, bouzouki, and accordion.

In partnership with Alan Bearman Music.

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London Piano Festival

Welcome to the 2024 London Piano Festival at Kings Place!

This October we will be celebrating the spirit of musical collaboration, a thread which has run through all our festivals since 2016.

We are delighted to welcome exceptional pianists including Lara Melda, one of the most insightful players of the younger generation, together with Reinis Zairins acclaimed for his distinctive, gripping style. For jazz fans there will be a thrilling opportunity to experience Kit Armstrong & Michael Wollny on two pianos.

Historic women composers will receive a particular focus from Susan Tomes whilst Rose McLachlan brings us Twenty Two brand new pieces all written by female composers in homage to Chopin.

For the first time we will include non-pianists in our lineup when the superb Carducci String Quartet join the music making for a special opening night Mozart Gala; an exciting, much anticipated new strand to the LPF journey!

Charles Owen & Katya Apekisheva

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Kings Place welcomes you to an hour of transportive music with its resident quartet, Piatti. Come and unwind and get a taste of classical music and all its variety in this Soundbites series, with famous quartets from the movies, including Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, the ultimate love-inspired playlist from Borodin and Tchaikovsky, a beautiful story of love and loss from siblings Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, plus minimalist icon Philip Glass and fellow American star composers Caroline Shaw and John Adams.

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Black Lives In Music presents Classically Black

Black Lives In Music (BLiM), the organisation set up to address racial inequality in the music industry and create opportunities for Black, Asian and ethnically diverse musicians and professionals, presents Classically Black, a symposium one-day event exploring the cutting edge of classical music.

Produced by BLiM, and sponsored by ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music), this ground-breaking event will explore the experience of being a minority in classical music and champion the works of Black music artists and creators past and present, while asking ‘what is classical now?’

There will be two newly commissioned works by British Black composers Pete Letanka and Jason Yarde, to be performed and recorded by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, plus a late afternoon showcase for emerging talent sponsored by Warner Music Group, networking opportunities, interactive discussions, panels, music workshops, and much more. The evening will host a bespoke show with multi-talented singer/songwriter, cellist, pianist, composer, Ayanna Witter-Johnson.

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Bach, the Universe & Everything

Bach, the Universe and Everything is back with another season of celestial adventures inspired by the music of JS Bach and the amazing cosmic discoveries of the last 350 years.

The scientific Enlightenment revealed that whilst space is unfathomable in its beauty and mystery, it is at the same time an extension of the world we know on Earth. Our speakers this season will explore how that knowledge is shaping our relationship with and understanding of the worlds and galaxies around us. In Bach’s church cantatas, we find one of the most intense explorations of the relationship between the human spirit, in many ways liberated by newfound knowledge, and the necessity of faith in a higher cause.

Alongside Bach’s cantatas we explore the choral works of Orlando Gibbons; often described as the last great English polyphonist, he was one of the most naturally talented composers in setting the English language to music.

‘Wowbagger gazed for a moment at the fantastic jewellery of the night, the billions of tiny diamond worlds that dusted the infinite darkness with light. Every one, every single one, was on his itinerary. Most of them he would be going to millions of times over.

He imagined for a moment his itinerary connecting up all the dots in the sky like a child’s numbered dots puzzle. He hoped that from some vantage point in the Universe it might be seen to spell a very very rude word.’

Douglas Adams Life, the Universe and Everything

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Sing to the Dark Weekend

The Gaelic festival Samhain was once widely marked across Scotland, Ireland and beyond as a threshold into winter and the darker half of the year. A liminal time of fire and feasting, magic and mischief, and the ritual remembering of the dead, it finds echoes in Halloween and All Saints/Souls.

Singer, songwriter and storyteller, and Kings Place Artist in Residence Karine Polwart programmes a weekend of events that explores darkening and light, myth and divination, and the supernatural.

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EFG London Jazz Festival

The EFG London Jazz Festival is the capital’s biggest pan-city music festival, taking place annually in November, which has long been acclaimed for showcasing a heady mix of talent from around the world. Widely acknowledged for delivering world-class artists and emerging stars, the festival continues to take jazz to a massive audience, in one of the UK’s landmark music events.

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