A journey through Britain’s radical tradition of utopian art and politics. The performance of music and readings spans 350 years from The Diggers to Bruce Springsteen, and captures the spirit of hope and vision that once transformed the nation. Music performed by Chris Ellis and Rosie Toll.
The prolific and inspiring creator of game-changing books, comics, films and songs talks about his work. His latest book is Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances.
Author Michael Morpurgo is joined by actress Alison Reid, violinist Daniel Pioro and The Storyteller’s Ensemble (a quartet of strings). Together they interweave words and music, to tell his haunting tale of survival against the odds, set against the background of the Holocaust. Adapted and directed by Simon Reade.
‘It is difficult for us to imagine how dreadful was the suffering that went on in the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. The enormity of the crime that the Nazis committed is just too overwhelming for us to comprehend. In their attempt to wipe out an entire race they caused the death of six million people, most of them Jews. It is when you hear the stories of the individuals who lived through it – Anne Frank, Primo Levi – that you can begin to understand the horror just a little better, and to understand the evil that caused it.
‘For me, the most haunting image does not come from literature or film, but from music. I learned some time ago that in many of the camps the Nazis selected Jewish prisoners and forced them to play in orchestras; for the musicians it was simply a way to survive. In order to calm the new arrivals at the camps, they were made to serenade them as they were lined up and marched off, many to the gas chambers. Often they played Mozart.
‘I wondered how it must have been for a musician who played in such hellish circumstances, who adored Mozart as I do – what thoughts came when playing Mozart later in life? This was the genesis of my story, this and the sight of a small boy in a square by the Accademia Bridge in Venice, sitting one night, in his pyjamas on his tricycle, listening to a busker. He sat totally enthralled by the music that seemed to him, and to me, to be heavenly.’ Michael Morpurgo.
The day after the première, members of the Welsh National Opera creative team and cast discuss their bicentenary production of Wagner’s great opera – a sublime confrontation between good and evil set on an epic symphonic scale.
The internationally renowned and ‘exhilaratingly dangerous’ poet teams up with her singer-songwriter daughter Fflur Dafydd in a memorable evening of poetry and song to celebrate her new bilingual collection.
The avant-garde musician, conceptual artist and pornographic model discusses her candid, taboo-breaking and fascinating autobiography with the musician John Grant.
The charismatic Glaswegian co-founded the Creation label at the age of 23 and brought us acts like My Bloody Valentine, House of Love, Ride and, of course, Primal Scream. In Manchester the label leapt into the big time with Screamadelica and then went global with Oasis.
One of pop music’s most enduring figures talks about his life, through the heady early days of Punk and 2-Tone, to the Eighties, where Madness became the biggest selling singles band of the decade. Along the way he tells us what it’s like to grow up in sixties Soho, go globetrotting with your best mates, make a dead pigeon fly and cause an earthquake in Finsbury Park. He talks to Martin Chilton.
The legendary Stranglers songwriter, vocalist and guitarist plays an intimate acoustic concert reworking some of his greatest hits, classic solo material and songs from his critically-acclaimed new album Totem And Taboo.
Everything But The Girl made nine albums and sold nine million records. One half of the band (with her husband Ben Watt), Thorn gives a wry look at the realities of a pop career. There are thrills and wonders to be experienced, yes, but also moments of doubt, mistakes, violent lifestyle changes from luxury to squalor and back again, sometimes within minutes. Also see event 67
The first ever biography of one of the most enduring and mysterious stars of the twentieth century shows a star adrift in a bewildering new America torn apart by the Civil Rights movement. Shunned by many of her former friends, shocked by her country’s insidious racism, and with a perilously fragile sense of her own identity.
The artist, co-creator of the Book of the Year, talks about the extraordinary project to reclaim and celebrate The Lost Words whilst she paints live onstage. She is accompanied by the music and song of Kerry Andrew performing the spells. All over the country, there are words disappearing from children’s lives. These are the words of the natural world – dandelion, otter, bramble, acorn – all gone. The rich landscape of wild imagination and wild play is rapidly fading from our children’s minds. Morris and her poet-spellcaster, Robert Macfarlane, have created a joyful celebration of nature words and the natural world they invoke. They capture the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for all ages.
Sponsored by Richard Booth’s Bookshop, which is hosting an exhibition of Jackie’s work until 31 August 2018
Why a systematic music education should be at the heart of every child’s early educational experience. Examples from contemporary approaches to music education will be shared, and recent political events that have threatened these approaches will be analysed. Chaired by Martin Chilton.
An interview with the musician and activist, who was arrested after her punk band’s 2012 performance in a Moscow cathedral. She was convicted of 'hooliganism motivated by religious hatred' and sentenced to two years penal servitude. Nadya Tolokno now has permanent residency in Canada, from where she continues to protest human rights abuses. Introduced by Rachael Jolley.
One of the world’s leading conductors presents his portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach. How can such sublime work have been produced by a man who seems so ordinary, so opaque – and occasionally so intemperate? Chaired by Clemency Burton-Hill.
The music therapist specialises in working with people at the end of their lives; he presents and discusses work created by his clients over the last 10 years. Chaired by David Barnard.
Nuremberg, 1946. Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, prosecuting ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’; Hans Frank, Hitler’s lawyer, the defendant. Three lives, connected to events in Poland, and music that offered solace and hope. A drama about the origins of modern justice, in images, and in words and music by Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Louis Aragon and Leonard Cohen.
The riveting follow-up to her Bedsit Disco Queen. Part memoir, part wide-ranging exploration of the art, mechanics and spellbinding power of singing, Naked at the Albert Hall takes in Dusty Springfield, Dennis Potter and George Eliot; Auto-tune, the microphone and stage presence; The Streets and The X Factor. Including interviews with fellow artists and portraits of singers in fiction as well as Tracey’s real-life experiences, it offers a unique, witty and sharply observed insider’s perspective on the exhilarating joy and occasional heartache of singing.
An evening to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Welsh passage to Argentina aboard the Mimosa. Gower sets the scene with his Gwalia Patagonia – a tale of legendary giants and Andean condors, devil spirits and chapel-worshippers. He is joined by Argentinian writer Jorge Fondebrider, author of The Spaces Between. The evening is completed with the fascinating anecdotal and geographical ramblings of one of Wales’ best-loved guitarists, singers and actors, René Griffiths. Full of emotion and passion, Ramblings of a Patagonian is the revelation of one-man’s unrelenting love for his own Andean desert. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
The bass player and co-founder of the post-punk Manchester rock band tells the inside story of his times and tours with Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Ian Curtis.
The Everything But The Girl musician’s beautiful and funny memoir is a personal journey and a portrait of his parents, Romany and Tom. It is a vivid story of the post-war years, of ambition and stardom, family roots and secrets, of life in clubs and in care homes.
The Arts have played a major role in changing views around gender, racial equality, poverty, etc. – but what have they done to change views about climate change? What role should the Arts play in telling stories, raising awareness and challenging the status quo? Smith – co-founder of Emergence, Neal – author and theatre-maker, and Davenport – director of Good Energy discuss with Marcus Brigstocke.
An exploration, through words and music, of Britain’s radical utopian tradition. This rich legacy of hope was the dominant strand of political thought for five centuries, but in the last 40 years we have stopped asking the question: how are we going to live? With a cast of actors, musicians and authors Land of Promise aims to reignite our utopian aspirations for a better Britain.
Franz Schubert’s Winterreise is one of the most powerful and enigmatic masterpieces in Western culture. One of the work’s finest interpreters, Bostridge, focuses on the context, resonance and personal significance of a work that is possibly the greatest landmark in the history of Lieder. He unpicks the enigmas and subtle meaning of each of the twenty-four songs to explore for us the world Schubert inhabited, bringing the work and its world alive for connoisseurs and new listeners alike.
In an informal pre-concert interview, the violinist talks about his approach to music, his Polish band, his 1732 violin made by Carlo Bergonzi of Cremona, jazz, Villa and Vivaldi.
An intriguing journey of dissonance in science, in nature and in music: how composers have employed it from Baroque music to Rock feedback; how medicine harnesses it to shatter kidney stones and treat cancer; and even how the military uses it in (real and rumoured) weapons. Chaired by Clemency Burton-Hill.
Somewhere between song and story, and between fiction and truth, is the world of Terence Blacker, a place of secrets, surprises and humour. His songs have been compared to those of Jake Thackray, and his stories to those of Roald Dahl. Combining the two for this guided tour around his private village – developed from his successful Edinburgh Fringe show My Village and Other Aliens – he offers a view of our world that is sharp-eyed, funny and affectionate.
The legendary musician shares the insights and experience of his sixty-year career with Clemency Burton-Hill. ‘This book distils what, at my advanced age, I feel able to say about music, musicians, and matters of my pianistic profession.’
In the first of two fusion concerts at Hay on Friday 30 May, the world music ensemble play a concert of exciting works that tap into the Middle Eastern heritage of the lute and the driving rhythms of Flamenco. The two virtuosi brothers on lute and guitar are joined by Stanton’s exquisite percussion, creating a spectacular sound palette for this East–West fusion of classical traditions and contemporary improvisation.
The geneticist, author of Creation: The Origin of Life/The Future of Life explains how the evolution of music is notably similar to biological evolution: sampling closely mimics synthetic biology, as wholesale pieces of other organisms are swapped to add functions and behaviours for our purposes. And now, as with the copyright issues that strangled creativity in hip-hop, patents in genetics act as crippling hindrances to scientific progress.
Also drawing upon an epic poem and an intimate portrait of a serving Swansea soldier, Nawr Yr Arwr \ Now The Hero brings the stories of war to life but counterpoints the tragic telling with hope. At its heart is a site specific Requiem, realised from a collaboration between the late Oscar-nominated Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhansson and Owen Morgan Roberts; with a libretto by BAFTA nominated writer Owen Sheers. Artist Owen Griffiths (Arts Council of Wales Creative Ambassador) will also join the conversation to discuss his contribution to the project – the creation of an edible landscape and harvest gathering, as featured in Brangwyn's paintings.
Rees introduces the concepts of Nawr Yr Arwr \ Now The Hero and discusses Sheers’ response to the ancient Celtic poem Y Gododdin; Roberts’ interpretation of this in musical form in a specific setting; and Griffiths unique interpretation of paintings as war memorials in contemporary landscape.
Chaired by Jasper Rees.
Now The Hero is the highlight in Wales for the final year of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.
Hay regular George Monbiot and the folk singer and songwriter Ewan McLennan join their considerable forces for an evening that plays with songs and the human stories that inspired them. Mining the themes of loneliness and social isolation and the ways people overcome them, the interplay of words and music is poignant and encouraging.
What would you sacrifice for the sake of the one you love? The Forbidden Door tells passionate, funny and hauntingly interwoven stories. Twisting human nature’s need to disobey the rules into beautiful tales of love and loss, this is storytelling for adults; there are no big eyes or nursery rhymes. Expect impossible quests, heart-stopping twists, love, loss, high drama, low comedy and pure moments of total abandonment from the real world. The Devil’s Violin is Daniel Morden – story, Oliver Wilson-Dickson – violin, Sarah Moody – cello, and Dylan Fowler – guitar.
Brix spent ten years in the band, The Fall, before a violent disintegration led to her exit and the end of her marriage with Mark E Smith. Her story is much more than rock ’n’ roll highs and lows in one of the most radically dysfunctional bands around. Growing up in the Hollywood Hills in the 1960s in a dilapidated pink mansion, her life has taken her from luxury to destitution, from the cover of the NME to waitressing in California, via the industrial wasteland of Manchester in the 1980s.
Rightly celebrated for iconic works such as ‘Adiemus' and 'The Armed Man', Sir Karl Jenkins is now the most-performed living composer in the world, with 17 gold and platinum disc awards. In 2015 he became the first Welsh-born composer to receive a knighthood for services to composing and crossing musical genres. His is one of the most versatile careers in modern music, from a modest upbringing in Penclawdd to the 1960s London jazz scene, the prog-rock band Soft Machine and his huge success in the world of 1980s advertising, composing for brands such as Levi’s, BA and Renault. In 1995 his composition ‘Adiemus’, combini
The exhilarating World music fusion of the guitar/percussion duo has excited audiences around Europe. Guitarist Jon Salfield and percussionist Simon Stanton have crafted a unique and dynamic repertoire combining Flamenco and Latin traditions, with elements of North African, Caribbean and jazz traditions, and a healthy dose of improvisation.
The legendary promoter has been at the heart of the music industry for 40 years. He talks to the editor of GQ.
At 21 the prodigious violinist found her instrument: a rare 1696 Stradivarius, perfectly suited to her build and temperament. Her career soared. Then, in a train station café, her violin was stolen from her side. In an instant her world collapsed. This is Min's extraordinary story - of a young woman staring into the void, wondering who she was, who she had been. It is a story of isolation and dependence, of love, loss and betrayal, and of the intense, almost human bond that a musician has with their instrument. Above all, it's a story of hope through a journey back to music.
Andrew Gant unravels the captivating, and often surprising stories behind the origin of some of our best loved carols. Tales of great musicians and thinkers, saints and pagans, shepherd boys, choirboys, monks and drunks. It is a fittingly joyous account of one of our best-loved musical traditions.