Pioneers of Percussion

Our second festival of the year charts the explosion of percussion music in the twentieth century, with talks, screenings, live music, DJs and workshops.

Wednesday 6th November, 8pm: New York / London: ‘What’s Happening Now’ The Macbeth, 70 Hoxton Street, N1 6LP We open the festival with a night in collaboration with esteemed New York label New Amsterdam, tracing the creative ties between these two great cities. Music including David Lang's classical The Anvil Chorus, and works by Steve Martland, Judd Greenstein and others, plus the premieres of our competition winners. More information / Tickets: £5 (Wegottickets)

Saturday 9th November, 7pm: Percussion and Orchestra Oval Space, 32 The Oval, E2 9DT Bartók’s masterpiece Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta broke new ground in the 1930s, placing the percussionist at the centre of the classical orchestra. Here it is heard in the contemporary surroundings of East London's Oval Space, alongside Gabriel Prokofiev’s recent Concerto for Bass Drum,  a pivotal solo work by Iannis Xenakis - Psappha - and a large-ensemble piece by acclaimed young composer Kate Whitley entitled Split. Multi-Story Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Stark. Soloist: Joby Burgess. More information / Tickets: £8 / £10 (Wegottickets)

Sunday 10th November, 1pm: Reich in Ghana - Drumming Workshop St Margarets House, 21 Old Ford Road, E2 9PL In the early 1970s, Steve Reich travelled to Ghana to immerse himself in West African drumming traditions: in the process, he created a new, compelling musical language full of complex and shifting polyrhythms. For this workshop, participants will be joined by Ghanaian master drummer Abass Dodoo and classically-trained percussionist Serge Vuille to explore the profound influence of West African drumming on Reich's music of the 1970s. Tickets £8 / £5 (Wegottickets)

Wednesday 13th November, 7:30pm: The Evolution of the Drum Kit Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare Street, E8 1HE A night celebrating the evolution of the drum kit over the last century and its huge influence on music across many genres. Featuring a screening of the award-winning Beware of Mr Baker (2012), which  tells the story of how Ginger Baker became a pioneer of modern drumming, through his foundations in jazz and rock to his discovery of Afrobeat and African percussion. The screening is followed by a sequence of solo performances and talks from internationally acclaimed drummers Ralph Salmins (Van Morrison, McCartney, Madonna ... ), Jean-Claude Webs (D.R. Congo: Kanda Bongoman, Sam Magwana) and Steve Noble (N.E.W., DECOY, Rip Rig & Panic ... ) + DJs Gabriel Prokofiev and Sam Mackay More information / Tickets: £7 (Hackney Picturehouse)

Saturday 16th November, 8pm - 3am: Pioneers of Percussion Scala, 275 Pentonville Rd, N1 9NL At the centre of the festival, Nonclassical takes over Scala to present iconic repertoire including: Edgard Varese’s Ionisation, (the earliest large-scale percussion ensemble work) and John Cage’s Constructions, virtuoso musicians Joji Hirota, Shahbaz Hussain and Abass Dodoo, and a complete performance of Steve Reich's seminal Drumming. With three rooms of live music and DJs surveying a whole spectrum of percussion-led music throughout the night, this is the unmissable centrepiece of the series. More information / Tickets: £6 (limited) / £10 / £12 (Wegottickets)

Sunday 17th November, 7pm: Filmphonics Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare Street, E8 1HE A film evening inspired by the theme of percussion. African Drum, Beyond the Beat (2012) looks at the various social functions of the drum in West African society, and is followed by a live discussion with director Tariq Richards. Meanwhile Ballet Mécanique (1923) is a rarely-screened Dadaist masterpiece, famous for its extraordinary percussive score by Georges Antheil. Tickets Available HERE (wegottickets)

Friday 22nd November, 6pm: Theatre of Percussion Limewharf, Vyner Street, E2 9DJ The closing night of the festival puts the spotlight on music in which performance art and extended technique stretch the boundaries of what percussion can be. With pieces by Thierry De May, Rzewski, Globokar and others, and performers including George Barton, Catherine Ring, and Calie Hough. Tickets: £5 advance (Wegottickets)