Ether Festival

Over the last decade, Southbank Centre’s Ether festival has forged a reputation for staging cross-genre and cross-artform events that couldn’t happen anywhere else – from Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke playing alongside London Sinfonietta in 2005 to Chris Cunningham’s mind-and-eye blowing audiovisual spectacular in 2010, via unforgettable appearances by Lou Reed, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Gil Scott-Heron and definitive celebrations of composers ranging from Thomas Adès (2008) to avant-garde legend Edgard Varèse (2010). In 2011, Ether celebrates its 10th birthday with an inspirational mix of pioneering record labels, mercurial innovators, premieres of new work and exciting live music to film.

“Over 10 years Ether has celebrated innovation, encouraged experimentation and joined the dots between post war avant-garde, electronica and dance music. We have done this by bold juxtaposition of different types of music, which share qualities of innovation and complexity and by encouraging collaborations between some of our most dynamic musicians and artists.”
Gillian Moore, Head of Contemporary Culture, Southbank Centre.

Festival highlights are set to include Piccard in Space, Will Gregory’s debut opera in collaboration with the BBC Concert Orchestra (31 March/1 April), inspired by August Piccard’s 1931 flight into the stratosphere; the return of the band that inspired a generation, Killing Joke (1 April); KrautPopAmbient (3 April), a night dedicated to groundbreaking German electronica label Kompakt including performances by The Field and founders Wolfgang Voigt and Jörg Burger; Chopped and Screwed (5 April) a digital/analogue mash-up between experimental pop band Micachu and the Shapes and Southbank Centre Resident Orchestra London Sinfonietta and Tim Exile’s interactive live jam with the audience providing sounds (6 April).

Also, the return of 2001 – A Space Odyssey (7 & 8 April) – Stanley Kubrick’s seminal film – with live accompaniment by the Philharmonia Orchestra and Philharmonia Voices, following a sell-out success in June 2010; a very special performance by James Blake as part of cellist Oliver Coates’ Harmonic series (10 April); two club nights produced in association with trouble tune featuring new material from German electro stars Pantha du Prince and Apparat and New York’s Oneohtrix Point Never who will also present the first UK live show for his side project; Games. On 28th April, Adrian Utley and Will Gregory perform their thrilling new score to Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 masterpiece; The Passion of Joan of Arc.

Following the huge success of Varèse 360° in 2010, Ether continues to honour avant-garde icons with a celebration of the pioneer of computer generated music Iannis Xenakis, including performances by London Sinfonietta (2 April) and Ensemble Exposé (3 April). On 14th April, Ether presents the UK Premiere of Louis Andriessen’s Anaïs Nin and returning to Southbank Centre is Klaus Obermaier’s 21st century realisation of Stravinsky’s early modernist masterpiece The Rite of Spring including live dance and stunning 3D visuals (23 April).

An extensive free programme during Ether 2011 includes two Friday Tonic sessions (1 & 8 April) hosted by DJ Nick Luscombe featuring performances by Kelpe, Architeq and The Simonsound; Friday Lunch performances including Young Xenarchitects (1 April) and Mirror (8 April). Festival-goers can manipulate sounds at Tim Exile’s Jamshops (2 & 5 April), journey into the human psyche guided by neuroscientist David Eagleman (4 April), and encounter Xenakis’ groundbreaking music composition tool from the 1970’s at Discovering UPIC (2 & 3 April) and the UPIC Workshops (2 & 3 April). For those who want to go deeper still there is the three-day Xenakis International Symposium (1-3 April), organised by the centre for Contemporary Music Cultures of Goldsmiths, University of London.

For more detailed information on all of the events lined up for this year’s festival, take a look at

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