IslingtonTribune

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Celebrating 10 years as Kings of the arts world

21 September, 2018 — By Sebastian Taylor

Kings Place, dreamchild of Peter Millican. Photo: Nick White

This autumn, Kings Place is 10 years old. And in that time it’s become well and truly established as one of London’s premier arts centres.

The unusual multi-purpose arts and office building was the dreamchild of property developer/arts philan­thropist Peter Millican. Artistic partners setting up shop included the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, London Sinfonietta; and Aurora Orchestra.


PeterMillican. Photo: NickWhite

Millican rapidly established a programme embracing multiple genres of music – classical, jazz, folk and world – plus spoken work and comedy.

Niche culture festivals involved the brilliant idea of launching the year-long Unwrapped series, exploring different composers each year. First, it was Beethoven, then came Mozart, Chopin, Bach and Brahms. Later, the series moved on to themes, including Chamber Classics, Minimalism, the Cello and, this year’s Time series.

Then there are the festivals: January’s A Cappella festival; the Bach Weekend in April; and the Songlines Encounters Festival for world music lovers in June.

Every October, pianists from around the world play at the London Piano Festival. In November, the centre plays a key role in the annual London Jazz Festival.

Highlights of the past 10 years include:
• Scene Norway Festival in 2008 featuring an array of Norwegian jazz artists – including an ice-trumpet performance.
• Wonderful pianist Martha Argerich playing an Argentinian evening in 2013.
• Prince playing a secret gig in 2013.
• Various folk legends including Martin Simpson, Peggy Seeger plus Martin and Eliza McCarthy.
• Robert Glasper’s intoxicating piano performance in the 2012 London Jazz Festival
• French piano duo the Labeque Sisters starring in 50 years of Minimalism.
• The Brodsky Quartet’s epic cycle of all 15 Shostakovich’s string quartets.
• Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason playing his first London recital in 2017.
• Sonica Festival 2018 featured a “Slow Pixel” in which 176 snails carrying their diode light made a slow dance around a blacked-out hall to the strains of Teen Spirit.

• Kings Place, 90 York Way, N1 9AG, 020 7520 1490, www.kingsplace.co.uk

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