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Around the world in two weeks in a symphony of cultures at the British Museum

12 April, 2018 — By Sebastian Taylor

Japanese gagaku will be performed by Ensemble Reigakusha in the British Museum’s Egyptian gallery. Photo: Mark Sohl

A unique two-week festival of historic music from around the world is getting under way in the British Museum on Monday (April 16). The festival – Europe and the world: a symphony of cultures – brings together various musical traditions in the extraordinary setting of the Museum’s galleries.

“The festival is a new departure for the British Museum, using music to find new ways to illuminate the objects and spaces the our visitors see each day,” says museum director Hartwig Fischer.

Next week’s festival highlights include:

Monday April 16
• Europe & the world: Strauss, Berio & Scelsi performed by mezzo Susan Bickley and London Sinfonietta. 7pm, £12/cons £8.

Tuesday April 17
• Spiritual music of the world: American pianist Jay Gottlieb. Performed in the magnificent Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and Asia. 7.30pm, £12/cons £8.

Wednesday April 18
• Classical Arabic music by Al-Adwar ensemble led by acclaimed Moroccan singer Aïcha Redouane. 3pm/free, drop-in.
• Gagaku, the world’s oldest orchestral music, performed by Reigakusha ensemble in the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery. 7.30pm, £12/cons £8.

Thursday April 19
• Baroque & flamenco music from Spain and the colonial Americas performed by flamenco singer Arcángel & Accademia del Piacere, 7.30pm, £12/cons £8s.

Friday April 20
• Performance of Osvaldo Golijov’s epic distillation of Jewish musical culture from Hebrew chant to klezmer. Performed in Cyrus Cylinder room named after Cyrus the Great who ended the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. 3pm, free, just drop in.
I, Hamlet: a kunqu opera. One-man show by leading Chinese performing artist Zhang Jun playing four roles – Hamlet, Ophelia, the ghost of Hamlet’s father and the gravedigger. 7.30pm, £12/cons £8.

The festival runs from April 16-29 in various rooms at the British Museum. Details of all concerts at: www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/europe_and_the_world/events.aspx

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