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Venus in all shades and guises: Kings Place festival of women composers

11 January, 2019 — By Sebastian Taylor

Laura Mvula and Black Voices perform on January 23. Photo: Nick White

A YEAR-LONG series Venus Unwrapped focusing on the creative firepower for women composers is being launched at Kings Place this weekend. The series is about women from all races and backgrounds as much as it is about a wide and eclectic range of music from jazz and folk, contemporary to electronic, and the artists who inspired them.

From Francesca Caccin in 16th-century Italy to Meredith Monk in 20th-century New Tork, Kings Place is seeking to unlock the secret history of music by women.

“There are more than 6,000 female composers currently catalogued,” says Kings Place chief executive Pete Millican. “In Venus Unwrapped, we are presenting music by 140 of those – it’s a start. “Yes, Monteverdi did have female contempor­aries as did Bach, Brahms and Stravinsky. Yes, there are female gospel composers and female jazz composers.

“We thought it was high time that we threw a light on this rich historical treasury while also celebrating the wealth of original female creatives working in music today.”

Venus Unwrapped: January events

• Friday, January 11, 8pm: The Local Honeys dedicated to the preservation and creation of “Hillbilly” music in the US
• Saturday, January 12, 8pm: Welsh folk singer Cate Le Bon celebrated for her playful lyricism and inventive guitar-pop melodies.
• Wednesday, January 13, 7.30pm, at St Pancras Parish Church: Musica Secreta plays celestial music from the convents of medieval and Renaissance Europe
• Thursday, January 17, 8pm: Collaboration between experimental electronic artist Nik Void and American multi-instrumentalist/composer Ashley Paul
• Friday, January 18, 7.30pm: Bang on a Can All-Stars play super-mix of its incomparable repertoire.
• Wednesday, January 23, 8pm: Acclaimed singer-songwriter Laura Mvula and a cappella quintet Black Voices.
• Sunday, January 27, 6.30pm: West Hampstead violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen/pianist Huw Watkins play Rebecca Clarke sonatas et al.

Kings Place, 90 York Way, N1 9AG, www.kingsplace.co.uk/venus

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