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Songs from the Road

Sun 20 January 2019
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre

Crossing musical genres and art forms, we explore stories of migration across centuries and continents with the most creative voices in folk, contemporary classical and South Asian music today – Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, Du Yun and Ali Sethi.

Taking centre stage in this Orchestral Theatre concert is the world premiere of Where We Lost Our Shadows, a collaborative work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun and Palestinian video artist Khaled Jarrar for orchestra, video, vocals and percussion. Responding to the global refugee crisis, the multimedia piece interweaves Du Yun’s striking musical soundscape with a collection of ragas, text from Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan, and footage of Jarrar’s journey with a group of refugees from Syria to Europe. For this world premiere, we bring together an exceptional set of international musicians – one of Pakistan’s most admired singers Ali Sethi, former drummer of the experimental rock band Xiu Xiu Shayna Dunkelman, and past BBC Generation Artist mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston.

Complementing this new work is the journey of the folk ballad “Two Sisters” from 16th-century Norway to modern-day New York City. Folk artist Sam Amidon and composer/performer Nico Muhly join us to perform a series of versions, including Amidon’s much-loved “Saro” (Bedroom Community) and Muhly’s hypnotic rendition “The Only Tune”. The story of the ballad’s transformation is told alongside specially-commissioned animations by Ola Szmida and Mahler’s own arresting ‘song from the road’, the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer).

Khaled Jarrar’s film includes documentary footage of his journey with a group of refugees from Syria to Europe, including interviews with adults and children.


The Orchestral Theatre: The Claus Moser Series at Southbank Centre is generously supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation (in memory of Sir Claus Moser), Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation, the Hargreaves & Ball Trust, Nicholas & Margo Snowman, and the Aurora Patrons and Friends.

Songs from the Road is generously supported by Louis Watt & Alice Fishburn.


Play for Progress & Aurora Players
2.30pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer

Before the concert, hear a free performance by members of Play for Progress and Aurora players using music as a tool for social change. We invite you to bring along your instrument and take part in the music-making – all levels welcome. Play for Progress is a a Croydon-based charity that delivers therapeutic and educational music programmes for unaccompanied minor refugees and asylum seekers.

Aurora’s project with Play for Progress is generously supported by Signatur, the umbrella name for The Karlsson Játiva Charitable Foundation’s work for the advancement of the art of music.

Part of:

Nico Muhly in Residence with Aurora Orchestra

SoundState, a new contemporary music festival at Southbank Centre