1. The Secret Life of Organs
Dracula’s favourite instrument gets its pipes cleaned out. We hear organ music by Australian band The Necks, minimalist composer Philip Glass, and a new score by electronic artist Tom Jenkinson (Squarepusher/Warp Records), which echoes the fast, cut-up beats and synth lines for which he is well known, mixed with classical influences. The performer is James McVinnie, a champion of new organ music, who has collaborated with artists including Nico Muhly and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry.
Birmingham Town Hall, April 5
The 90s horror series might have started life as a set of children’s books, but this theatrical adaptation is not for children. The creators of last year’s Alice’s Adventures Underground have created an immersive promenade performance through the abandoned vaults under Waterloo, and the only way out is through the 19 dimly lit rooms. Featuring an original score from The Tiger Lillies, the ‘Brechtian street opera trio’, whose style merges dark humour and punk cabaret, with a healthy dollop of face-paint.
The Vaults, London Waterloo, April 6–September 4
In its fifth year, the festival of marginal, underground and experimental music is attempting to push boundaries further than ever, offering what it calls ‘a renaissance palate of sound’. Highlights include a concert exploring the tradition of Carnatic music, contemporary classical works for the solo accordion and a fiddle performance exploring the spaces between experimental, medieval and improvised music – all taking place in various venues across Glasgow.
Glasgow, various venues, April 8–10
4. Materials and duration 1.2
Described as ‘a world that is working towards complete virtual immersion’, this audio-visual piece by Heather Lander and Glasgow-based arthouse, Cryptic, questions magic and illusion, while moving between light and dark, silence and sound. Featuring new orchestral compositions from sound artist and musician Pete Sach.
Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, April 14–17
Heather Lander in Conversation, Centre for Contemporary Arts, April 14, 7pm
5. Rise of the Machines
A classical club night exploring the mechanical in orchestral music, culminating in the UK premiere of Gabriel Prokofiev’s Concerto for Turntables, Percussion, Trumpet and Orchestra. Other works include the fifth movement of Gabriel Prokofiev’s Concerto for Turntables, Alexander Mosolov’s Iron Foundry – the grandfather of orchestral mechanical music – and arrangements of Cock ver10 and Blue Calx from electronic mastermind Aphex Twin. All taking place in Ambika P3 (University of Westminster), an underground space in central London.
Ambika P3 Gallery, City of Westminster, London, April 15
6. Shakespeare’s Musical Brain
We love to talk about Shakespeare’s influence on music, and this year it’s demonstrated by the various operas, ballets, orchestral, choral and chamber works celebrating the Bard’s 400th anniversary. But what about music’s influence on Shakespeare? This conference explores the role of music in his and his company’s creative processes, and in the experiences of his audiences. Speakers include Bill Barclay, Director of Music at the Globe Theatre, and behavioural neurologist Professor Michael Trimble, alongside contributions from actors and musicians, who join in the discussion and finish with a performance.
The Great Hall, King’s College London, April 16
7. The Capulets and The Montagues
The Brunel Museum Thames Tunnel Shaft plays host to Bellini’s Shakespeare-inspired story. It’s a production from Pop-up Opera, who have previously commandeered a boat made of scrap metal, a restored Victorian poorhouse, and candlelit caverns 100 ft underground.
Thames Brunel Tunnel, April 20–21
8. Mozart & Salieri
This rarely performed one-act opera in two scenes by Rimsky-Korsakov, written in 1897 to a Russian libretto, is performed around the audience at the Phoenix Artist Club, Soho. The story follows the legend that Salieri poisoned Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart out of jealousy over his music. Spot the quotations from Mozart’s Requiem and Don Giovanni.
Phoenix Artist Club, London, April 20–23
9. The Lock-In: Improvised.
European string music meets African in this concert of bardic tunes and compositions from both continents – all explored through the violin and the West African kora. Featuring Aurora Orchestra principal violinist Max and kora player Sara Susso, who perform as part of The Lock In, Kings Place’s informal late-night mini-festival.
Hall Two, Kings Place, London, April 23
10. How to Solve a Problem Like Murder
An immersive murder mystery evening at the bohemian gastro-pub Paradise by Way of Kensal Green. Cast members perform jazz dance numbers for the masked audience, among whom lurk seven deadly suspects.
Paradise by Way of Kensal Green, London, until April 28