[Press and Publications] Journey to the Borderline of Time [Music; Storytelling]



November 2000

No 202

An evening that weaves together ancient traditions of storytelling with music by one of Britain's foremost composers is coming to the University of Leicester Richard Attenborough Centre in December.

Future Perfect combines stories written and told by the internationally celebrated Vayu Naidu with music performed by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, one of Britain's top contemporary music ensembles. Original music is by Judith Weir.

The result represents a storyteller's journey through time, ranging across America, Europe and India. The first part of the programme will be a traditionally told original story by Vayu Naidu, illustrated with tabla and cello, and including Unlocked, by Judith Weir - based on folksongs and blues sung by prisoners in the American Deep South. During the second half another original story by Vayu Naidu will interact dramatically with Judith Weir's music.

Future Perfect, which is touring the UK, will be at the University of Leicester Richard Attenborough Centre on Saturday 2 December 2000 at 7.30 pm. Tickets at 10 (9 and 7.50 concession rates) are available from the Centre, telephone (0116) 252 2455, facsimile (0116) 252 5165, email RACentre@le.ac.uk or on the door.

Notes to editors: More information is available from Philip Herbert, Organising Tutor for Music, Richard Attenborough Centre, University of Leicester, telephone (0116) 252 2455, email pah14@le.ac.uk.

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG)

The core of the BCMG's work is the commissioning and performance of new music. Formed in 1987 from members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, it has become established as one of Europe's leading ensembles. In September 1998 Thomas Ades became the Group's first Music Director, completing the artistic team which includes Sir Simon Rattle (Artistic Adviser) and Simon Clugston (Artistic Director).

Among the awards the Group has won are the 1995 Gramophone Award for Best Orchestral Recording, the 1993 Royal Philharmonic Society Chamber Ensemble Award, and the 1993 Prudential Award for Music.

BCMG runs an extensive education and audience development programme, including the groundbreaking Urban and Rural Tours, popular Late Night performances at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and its Sound Investment scheme. The group broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio and has featured in programmes for both BBC and Independent Television.

Vayu Naidu

Vayu Naidu was born in Delhi in 1957. She studied in India and the USA and took Europe's first doctorate in performance storytelling from the University of Leeds in 1994. She is founder and Artistic Director of Brumhalata Intercultural Storytelling Company, based in Birmingham, which has collaborated with a range of artists, including - in the 1997 Parting Company, celebrating 50 years of Indian independence - composer Judith Weir, tabla player Sarvar Sabri and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Vayu Naidu's short stories include Cultures of Silence (Virage 1994) and Twisted Tales (Star Publications 1997). Her children's stories Biswas is Born and Biswas has a Hump (Harper Collins 1992) are now an animated film for Channel 4 learning. Her regional folktales for Turlink Publishers, Chennai, include Eyes on the Peacock's Tail, The Magic Vessels, Curly Dog's Tail and Hiss! Don't Bite. Her text, Storytelling and the Healing Art of Narrative: The Empty Vessel (Jessica Kingsley 1999), centres on the significance of storytelling in multicultural education, therapy, performance arts, battered women's shelters and prisons, where she has worked sharing her skills. Vayu Naidu's new play, There Comes a Karma, was selected for Radio 4's Chasing the Rainbow series. She writes for the Leicester Haymarket Theatre, where she is Artistic Associate.

Judith Weir, CBE

Judith Weir studied composition whilst at school in London, with John Tavener, and later at Cambridge University, with Robin Holloway. She has taught composition in Scotland, Sweden and the USA. For the last four years she has held the post of Fairbairn Composer in Association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and since 1995 has been Artistic Director of the Spitalfields Festival.

She holds a Critics' Circle Award (1994), the Lincoln Center's Stooger Prize (1997) and was the inaugural holder of the Hambro Visiting Professorship in Open Studies at Oxford University (autumn 1999).

From the early 1980s, Judith Weir spent ten years working predominantly in opera and music theatre. Her three full-length operas, A night at the Chinese opera, The vanishing Bridegroom, and Blond Eckbert, have all been televised and performed in Britain and the USA. More recently she has concentrated on chamber music and on pieces of all combinations for musicians of the CBSO. Music which actively involves a wide musical community has been a priority for her, and she has spent a considerable amount of time working with amateur and student musicians.

Recent premieres include September 1999 at Westminster Cathedral, where All the ends of the earth was written for the opening concert of the BBC Sounding the Millennium season; March 2000, We are Shadows, for the CBSO and Sir Simon Rattle as part of the final Towards the Millennium series of concerts; and a song cycle for Jessye Norman and chamber ensemble with texts by Toni Morrison, Clarissa Estes and Maya Angelou, also in March 2000 in Carnegie Hall, New York.


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Last updated: 15 November 2000 14:32
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