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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

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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Manchester Collective: Voice of the Whale

Contemporary / Nature Unwrapped

Voice of the Whale performed under blue light by anonymous, masked musicians, on instruments that are amplified and modified. This is music from another dimension, an undersea world which audiences will experience on stage, together with our players.

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Chilingirian Quartet

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

The Chilingirian Quartet offers a celebration of the Nature theme through the string quartet medium.

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From the Haunted Forest with Jack Liebeck & Friends

Classical / London Chamber Music Society

Celebrated violinist Jack Liebeck is joined by a host of leading musicians for a night of nature-inspired Romantic works. The centrepiece is Elgar’s epic piano quintet which, according to Lady Elgar, was inspired by strangely-shaped trees at Flexham Park. As local legend had it, they were the forms of sacrilegious Spanish monks forever encased by lightning in the trees.

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Riot Ensemble

Contemporary / Nature Unwrapped

Performed from memory in over 75 minutes of complete darkness, Georg Friedrich Haas’ Solstices is a mammoth experience of tuning, listening and beauty.

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Aurora Orchestra with Imogen Cooper

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

A riot of vibrant colours splashes through this lively Mozart’s Piano programme with Aurora Orchestra and acclaimed pianist Imogen Cooper, including Copland’s Appalachian Spring.

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The Lock In: Songs of Travel

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

Aurora trombonist Matt Gee journeys through the bleak, wintry landscape of Schubert’s Winterreise in a unique arrangement for trombone and ensemble.

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Saigyo-Zakura

World / Nature Unwrapped

Our classical programme includes highlights from Noh playwright Zeami’s masterpiece Saigyo-Zakura (Saigyo’s Cherry Tree) as performed by Minoru IV Gensho Umewaka.

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Song of the Birds

World / Nature Unwrapped

Hear the songs of birds reimagined afresh in a cross-cultural collaboration between British recorder virtuoso Piers Adams, leader of the celebrated baroque quartet Red Priest, and Japanese Nohkan flute maestro Yukihiro Isso. Together they explore

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Sumida River in Sign Language

World / Nature Unwrapped

Sumida River in Sign Language brings the natural and human worlds together in a drama of physical gesture and facial expression.

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Hengenka: The Holistic Energies of Nature

World / Nature Unwrapped

Opening with a classical dance piece, Noh theatre merges with Western queer performance in a new work by the award-winning dance duo Thick & Tight, who explore new visions arising from ancient traditions.

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Laura Cannell's Modern Ritual XIII

Contemporary / Nature Unwrapped

Laura Cannell’s Modern Ritual is ancient, modern, experimental, real, fictional, personal, folkloric. It explores human and mechanical rituals, failure of ritual and provides a platform to premiere new works in the UK. 

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The Sixteen

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

Our artistic associates, The Sixteen, bring us movements from Brumel’s astonishing Earthquake Mass to Kings Place as part of Nature Unwrapped.

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Handel: L'Allegro

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

Did any musician of the 18th century better understand the human condition than Handel?

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Natural Order

Contemporary / Nature Unwrapped

Natural Order is an immersive new work by composer, Ben Corrigan. Featuring a new, co-written text in collaboration with award winning vocalist, Lauren Kinsella that she will perform live alongside new music pioneers the London Contemporary Orchestra.

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The Lydian Tree

Family / Nature Unwrapped

The Lydian Tree is a new collaborative work between children's author Kim Hillyard, composer Ben Corrigan and his art installation co-creator Matthew Watt.

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London Sinfonietta - more, more, more

Contemporary / Nature Unwrapped

Commissioned as part of a unique project in London Sinfonietta’s 50th Anniversary Season, Matthew Herbert’s more, more, more is his response to photographer Andreas Gursky’s photograph of a landfill site in Chimalhuacán, Mexico City. Herbert’s music comments

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Aurora Orchestra with Louis Schwizgebel

Classical / Nature Unwrapped

Aurora Orchestra dances through the colourful changing seasons of a year with an electric convergence of fresh modern sounds and revered classics. They are joined by leading pianist Louis Schwizgebel (BBC New Generation Artist).

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William Wordsworth: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

Words / Nature Unwrapped

Join Poet in the City for an evening of poetry, discussion and reflection on life’s big questions through the words of Romantic poet William Wordsworth.

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