When it opened in 2008, Kings Place was the first new concert hall built in London since the Barbican. Fifteen years later the venue remains one of the most adventurous concert venues in the capital.

Kings Place Hall One
© Nick Rutter

The acoustics of Hall One are among the best in the city, but this season also features a new state-of-the-art D&B Audiotechnik Soundscape system installed in Hall Two.

Ranging from January to December 2023, the season promises a series of tantalising combinations of classical, contemporary and electronic music – utilising environmental sound and live electronics, as well as acoustic performance.

Colin Currie Group
© Nick White

The season opens in January with the Colin Currie Quartet, fresh from a well-received US tour, in a programme featuring Steve Reich’s percussion ensemble classic Drumming. The concert also includes a ferocious work of John Luther Adams for multiple bass drums, spread around the space. Danceable contributions are provided by Bang On A Can luminaries Julia Wolfe and David Lang.

Viola da gamba soloist Liam Byrne makes an appearance later that night, combining the seductive and resonant sound of the bass viol with electronics, in works by Nico Muhly and Alex Mills.

Liam Byrne
© Sebastian Madej

Acclaimed vocal consort The Sixteen will also appear towards the end of January, in a collaboration with jazz pianist Julian Joseph. The music is inspired by Monteverdi, whose rich semi-improvised continuo of chittarone, theorbo and harpsichord is mirrored by Joseph’s improvised pianism. (Later in July, Genesis Sixteen returns fleshed out with more voices to perform Tallis’ spectacular forty-part Spem in Alium.)

Aurora Orchestra
© Nick Rutter

Kings Place regulars Aurora Orchestra make several appearances in 2023, with three as part of Sound Unwrapped. In February their programme includes George Benjamin’s electronics-infused Antara, alongside new arrangements of Debussy and Gershwin. In September they present a new work of Caroline Shaw’s for harpsichord and strings, and later in November the affecting In the Light of Air by celebrated Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdóttir.

In mid February, contemporary music specialists the Riot Ensemble present a programme featuring acoustically revitalising and rarely heard works by US experimentalists Alvin Lucier and James Tenney, as well as a newly-commissioned work by young British composer Jasmine Morris.

Manchester Collective’s Rakhi Singh
© Manchester Collective

Manchester Collective makes an appearance in March with a tantalising and death-infused programme, with sounds spread throughout the space via the new Soundscape audio system. The programme includes George Crumb’s famous electric string quartet Black Angels, Schubert’s Death and the Maiden as well as a new work by the revolutionary US composer and producer Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa). (Manchester Collective’s Rakhi Singh also plays a solo concert, for violin and electronics, later in June.)

Explore Ensemble
© Dmitri Djuric

In April, Explore Ensemble return for a contemporary programme featuring the transcendent harmony of US composer Catherine Lamb, as well as a rare outing of Swiss composer Beat Furrer’s ferocious and crystalline quintet Spur. With the sound of the ensemble spread through the space, at the heart of the programme is Rebecca Saunders’ darkly shimmering work Murmurs.

Belgian vocal ensemble Vox Luminis also appear in April, with a wide ranging programme of English renaissance consort music, from Tallis, Byrd, and Weelkes. A transformative evening of vocal harmonies in the exquisite resonance of Hall One, with singers spread throughout the space.

12 Ensemble
© Raphael Neal

In May, the string consort 12 Ensemble and piano-percussion combo GBSR Duo continue their collaboration. The programme includes the London premiere of Laurence Osborne’s new work TOMB!, culminating in Harold Budd and Brian Eno’s resplendent Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror, in a new arrangement by the performers.

Artist in residence this season, British composer-producer and broadcaster Hannah Peel presents a new programme with percussionist Beibei Wang in June, combining electronics with chinese drums, gongs, and water percussion.

The London Sinfonietta returns to Kings Place in late June in a fragrant programme featuring Jonathan Harvey, Kaija Saariaho and a new work by Irish composer Ailís Ní Ríain, all exploring interactions between acoustic instruments and electronics. (Later the same evening will be a chance to hear pioneering tape works by Varèse and Stockhausen in Hall Two.)

The English Sackbuts and Cornetts together with I Fagiolini can be heard in September, in a performance of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, uniquely spatialised across the multiple levels of Hall One. A rare chance to hear one of Monteverdi’s greatest works with clarity in the resonance of Hall One.

Zubin Kanga
© Raphael Neal

The next day, in complete contrast, Zubin Kanga’s Cyborg Soloists project makes an outing, in collaboration with Shiva Feshareki. Recently featured in the New York Times, Kanga’s unique project looks to radically expand his own physical and musical capacities as a pianist, utilising custom-built sensor technology, as well as artificial intelligence.

Sound Unwrapped 2023
© Kings Place

Alongside these contemporary chamber music events run a series of gigs with producers and electronic artists throughout the season, including Space Afrika, NikNak, Lucrecia Dalt and others. In addition, a series of events focused on field recording and environmental sound are included in the season – featuring Chris Watson, Cosmo Sheldrake, Hinako Omori, and Robert Henke. All make use of Hall Two’s new cutting edge Soundscape audio system.

This preview just brushes the surface of a wide-ranging season that continues throughout the year, offering something for just about everyone. Don’t miss it!

The preview was sponsored by Kings Place.