What’s on in October | UK LISTINGS

By Rhiannon Starr

Music in the Dark

Guitar music is performed in pitch darkness

1. Music in the Dark, London

Music in the Dark was conceived in 2013 by self-taught guitarist Jean-Pierre Mas with the aim of giving audiences the chance to experience music without any distractions. JP performs with singer and guitar player Sheetal, who is influenced by Bollywood, rock music and native folk music. In pitch darkness, the duo performs a fusion of Arabic, Spanish and Gypsy music.

Gnome House, October 1


In Their Own Words

A radical new piece about people facing diagnoses

2. In Their Own Words, London

Composers Anna Braithwaite and Michael Betteridge have teamed up to create a radical new music-theatre piece which sets true stories of people facing life-changing diagnoses to a score influenced by everything from medieval courtly dance to barber-shop quartet. Braithwaite scrutinises society’s role in caring for people with dementia, and Betteridge tells the story of a 21-year-old man living with HIV. In creating these musical portraits – which have been staged by Nick Blackburn – both composers used their subjects’ own words as the text.

Hackney Showroom, October 1



A wild celebration of contemporary choreography

3. Dance Umbrella, London

London’s international festival Dance Umbrella is a wild celebration of contemporary choreography across the capital. This year’s programme includes Primal Matter, a manipulation of two bodies into intriguing, unsettling and witty images by Greek artist Dimitris Papaioannou, as well as The Secret Slowness of Movement, a participatory installation with an ever-changing light and soundscape by dance artist Laura Dannequin, and Inter_rupted, a show in which the ancient Indian form of Kathak is given a contemporary spin by dance revolutionary Aditi Mangaldas.

Various venues, October 8 – 22


Psappa Ensemble

Jazz meets Minimalism in this concert

4. Psappha: Ropes, Manchester

Contemporary classical ensemble Psappha opens its 25th anniversary season with a concert in which jazz meets minimalism. The programme includes Gavin Bryars’ Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, inspired by a recording of a homeless man in 1970s London; Steve Reich’s Triple Quartet; and jazz guitarist and composer Mike Walker’s Ropes.

RNCM, October 12


Centre for Visual Music

Live light paintings represent ‘seeing music’

5. A Centre for Visual Music salon, Oxford

The Centre for Visual Music is a non-profit film archive dedicated to visual music, experimental animation and abstract media. In this salon, historical films are presented alongside contemporary works by Scott Draves, Xarene Eskandar and Steve Woloshen, as well as live light painting by multi-disciplinary artist Mark Rowan-Hull. In these performances, Rowan-Hull explores gesture, movement and colour in order to represent his experience of ‘seeing music.’

University of Oxford, October 12



Nonclassical presents classical music like rock

6. Nonclassical, London

Nonclassical are back with a new season of monthly club nights at The Dalston Victoria, featuring the very best of the contemporary classical, experimental and electronic scene. Nonclassical’s popularity lies in presenting classical music as though it were rock or electronic: bands play through the pub’s PA, everyone has a drink in their hand and DJs play throughout the night. Kicking off the season is avant-garde viola player Benedict Taylor and experimental flautist Julian Elvira.

The Victoria, October 12


Sound Festival Leylines

Leylines is inspired by ancient megaliths

7. Sound Festival, Aberdeen

Highlights at this annual experimental music festival include Leylines, a sound-dance piece inspired by ancient megaliths and the natural landscape; Songs of Coiled Light, a multi-sensory work exploring sound and vibrations and the concept of music that can be felt and seen as much as it is heard; and Light Field, a collaboration between sound artist Bill Thompson and dance artist Saffy Setohy.

Venues around Aberdeenshire, October 20 – November 6


Tapestries BitterSuite

Audiences are blindfolded in this performance

8. Tapestries, London

This new work from BitterSuite involves 30 performers and 30 blindfolded audience members, as well as four choreographers, a chef, a perfumer and a psychologist. Tapestries sees Janacek’s String Quartet No 1 mingled with poetry and phrases taken from the work’s source of inspiration – Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata – and reworked into a stimulating multi-sensory experience.

RichMix, October 22


Spill Festival

Audiences listen to wildlife sounds in a den


This biennale of experimental theatre and live art is back with another packed programme. This year’s highlights include a semi-improvised opera titled Of Leonardo da Vinci Quills, A Black Giant, Deluge, which melds music, sound art, image and movement; SoundHide, a den in which people can listen to recordings of wildlife sounds; and the world premiere of [Names] from vocalist Elaine Mitchener, a durational work which focuses on the names enslaved Africans were forced to take.

Venues around Ipswich, October 26-30



Eli Keszler and Paul McGuire, at ddmmyy

10. ddmmyy series 27/281016, London

The concert series ddmmyy presents two nights of new compositions and an installation from New York-based artist Eli Keszler and Irish composer Paul McGuire. For his first ever music commission within the UK, Eli Keszler will present an installation of piano wire strung throughout the entire theatre, alongside his virtuosic drumming and composed music for a five-piece ensemble. Paul McGuire, who completely re-imagines instrumental performance practice, presents a new work in which multiple performers manipulate a grand piano in various unconventional ways.

The Yard Theatre, Hackney, October 27-28


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