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Sounds of Life

From the curlew’s call to the groaning of ice, the music of the natural world has always inspired musicians and writers. As the future of a liveable planet becomes the most urgent issue of our time, we launch Nature Unwrapped. The twelfth edition of Kings Place’s award-winning year-long series will explore the sounds of the biosphere, man’s interaction with nature, and reflect on the paths open to us to make change.

Renowned choral director Paul Hillier is an Associate Artist, opening with Songs of the Soil to the music of Arvo Pärt. From Brumel’s Earthquake Mass to Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, Messiaen’s Catalogue d’Oiseaux to Max Richter’s Seasons Recomposed, Bach’s Peasant Cantata to Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, the series celebrates the inspiration of nature. Martin Simpson, Eliza Carthy and Nancy Kerr present Folk on Foot events, reflecting on the landscape. There will be ground-breaking music projects from Laura Cannell, John Luther Adams, Matthew Herbert and Ben Corrigan’s interactive Lydian Tree. Riot Ensemble bring GF Haas’s Solstices and Liza Lim’s Extinction Events, while Manchester Collective perform Crumb’s extraordinary Voice of the Whale.

Look out for more music events coming on sale, and for the spoken word programme, taking in poetry, nature writing, political debates and curated walks outside the building.

View shows & offers

Mira Calix & the Calix Ensemble

Contemporary / Nature Unwrapped

The Kalahari’s San people tell of a bee that carried a mantis across a river. The exhausted bee leaves the mantis on a floating flower, planting a seed in its body. According to their folklore,

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Reasons to be Cheerful

Words / Nature Unwrapped

A podcast about ideas. Former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, and Sony Award-winning radio host Geoff Lloyd talk to smart thinkers from around the world.

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Wild Singing: Eliza Carthy

Folk / Nature Unwrapped

Eliza Carthy is one of the most influential figures in the UK folk scene. Ahead of a live performance, Eliza will be in conversation with Folk on Foot podcast host Matthew Bannister

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Tea Houses: Camelia Sinesis

Contemporary / Nature Unwrapped

New live music mixes with lighting and soundscapes, participatory tea rituals and ambisonic technology, which captures the audience’s emotional responses in the performance space.

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Wild Singing: Matthew Bannister presents Folk on Foot Film

Words / Wild Singing

In this talk, broadcaster Matthew Bannister takes you behind the scenes of his award-winning podcast, Folk on Foot.

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Wild Singing: Martin Simpson

Folk / Nature Unwrapped

Regularly voted one of the world’s greatest guitarists, Martin Simpson has been nominated for an astonishing 23 Radio 2 Folk Awards – and won artist of the year twice.

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Wild Singing: The Songhive Project

Folk / Wild Singing

Songhive is a project founded by singer and musician Rowan Piggott, comprising songs of ‘beelore’ and folksong of the British Isles, to raise awareness of the current plight of the bees.

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Wild Singing: Kitty Macfarlane

Folk / Wild Singing

Kitty Macfarlane is a songwriter and guitarist from Somerset, whose music is rich with visual imagery and written with an eco-eye. Her trademark lies in remarkably mature songwriting, a marked empathy with the environment and a strong sense of place.

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Wild Singing: Nancy Kerr and James Fagan

Folk / Nature Unwrapped

Nancy and her husband James join us for a high-energy show. Ahead of a live performance, Nancy will be in conversation with Folk on Foot podcast host Matthew Bannister.

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Wildlife on London’s Canals

Words / Nature Unwrapped

In the 200th anniversary year of the building of the Regents Canal, discover the huge range of wildlife living within, beside and above London’s canals and waterways. David Courtnedge works for the London Wildlife Trust

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Four Seasons: Recomposed with 12 ensemble

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

The critically-acclaimed 12 ensemble return to Kings Place with a specially curated programme of works by Max Richter. Long-term collaborators of the composer, the 12 ensemble will be performing the ground-breaking Four Seasons: Recomposed with

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Firebird Orchestra

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

Inspired by their name, the Firebird Orchestra explores some of Nature’s ornithological themes in music.

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Sarah Nicolls

Contemporary / Nature Unwrapped

Acclaimed pianist and composer Sarah Nicolls' new project 12 Years was inspired by the 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, giving us 12 years to take drastic action on emissions.

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NYX + Christina Vantzou

Contemporary / Nature Unwrapped

NYX; electronic drone choir, and composer Christina Vantzou present a new, breathing symphony for electronics and the voice inspired by symbiosis in the natural world. 

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Aurora Orchestra with Ingrid Fliter

Classical / Aurora Orchestra

This scintillating programme includes a symphony performed entirely from memory; a work of orchestral theatre from Harrison Birtwistle; and a first collaboration with Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter.

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The Lock-In: Immersed – Beethoven 6

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

This special late-night event offers you the rare opportunity to experience Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony from inside the very heart of the orchestra.

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Laurie Anderson

Contemporary / Nature Unwrapped

In this solo performance, All the Things I Lost in the Flood, Anderson employs spoken word, video, live music and electronics to explore the power and perils of language and storytelling.

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Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Can Bacterium Compute?

Classical / Bach, the Universe & Everything

The science: Professor Susan Stepney introduces us to different types of non-conventional computing. The music: This cantata marks Pentecost, and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.

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Bach in the Country: The Secular Cantatas

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

Bach’s Cantate Burlesque (known as the Peasant Cantata) and his Coffee Cantata – two short comic operas, written in collaboration with Bach’s favourite librettist Picander.

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Richard Mabey and Iain Sinclair - The Unofficial Countryside

Words / Nature Unwrapped

Richard Mabey is the godfather of contemporary nature writing, author of some thirty books, including the ground-breaking Food for Free, Flora Britannica, Beechcombings and the prize-winning memoir Nature Cure. In this event, he celebrates his pioneering and now classic The Unofficial Countryside.

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Tamara Stefanovich

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

Birdsong was a key musical resource for Olivier Messiaen. His Catalogue d’oiseaux, 13 portraits of different birds divided into seven books, is one of the greatest, most original works of the 20th century.

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I Fagiolini

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

As the focus on climate change grows, I Fagiolini sing of nature and the passing of the year in a programme inspired by Pieter Breughel the Younger’s The Four Seasons.

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London Sinfonietta: Takemitsu

Contemporary / Nature Unwrapped

The Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu in focus, with musical performances, film and discussion.

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