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Karl Jenkins premiere gives upbeat to Cultural Olympiad

(February 2012)

The latest two works by Karl Jenkins explore Greek themes inspired by London 2012: Songs of the Earth is premiered in Cardiff's Music Nation concert on 4 March, and Gods of Olympus by The Really Big Chorus at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 8 July.

A highlight in the BBC's Music Nation weekend, providing the upbeat to this summer's Cultural Olympiad events, is the world premiere of Karl Jenkins's Songs of the Earth. Scored for chorus and orchestra, the 30-minute work is premiered at St David's Hall in Cardiff on 4 March by its commissioners, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with choral forces combining the BBC National Chorus of Wales and county youth choirs drawn from across Wales, conducted by the composer.

Karl Jenkins describes how Songs of the Earth was inspired by the Olympics: "I have turned to ancient Greece, birthplace of the original games, and Greek mythology for inspiration and for how the Greeks perceived the creation of Earth. For text I have used my own ‘mythical’ language, first used in my Adiemus project."

"Before earth, sea and sky were created there existed one warring mass of disparate elements, also perceived as a God, called Khaos. Out of this emerged Gaia, mother earth who, without a mate, gave birth to Ouranus (sky or heavens). Ouranus, in turn, impregnated Gaia who, as a result, gave birth to the Titans, six male, six female, one of whom was Tethys, Goddess of fountains and streams. The Greeks imagined the sky to be a dome of brass, decorated with stars at night, whose edges descended to rest on the periphery of a flat earth. Below this were the bowels of the earth, Tartarus, where the Titans were later imprisoned."

A further new Jenkins work for chorus and orchestra, Gods of Olympus, is premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 8 July, providing a major highlight of the Cultural Olympiad’s London 2012 Inspire programme. This is the second commission from The Really Big Chorus following their successful performances of  Jenkins's The Armed Man and his Gloria, commissioned and premiered in 2010. In coming months The Really Big Chorus is inviting choral singers from its 30,000 membership to perform the premiere of the 20-minute work in London on 8 July, conducted by Brian Kay.
> The Really Big Chorus

Karl Jenkins describes his exploration of Greek mythology in Gods of Olympus: "I have based this piece on ancient Greece, birthplace of the Olympic games. The movements are inspired by four of the twelve Olympians, the mythical Gods that dwelt on Mount Olympus: Zeus, Ruler of Olympus; Hermes, the Winged Messenger; Aphrodite, Goddess of Love; and Hephaestus, Blacksmith and Fire-God."

Karl Jenkins's The Peacemakers, premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York in January, tours the UK in May, visiting Manchester (19 May), London (20 May), Cardiff (23 May) and Birmingham (27 May). The EMI recording is released worldwide on 26 March and the Boosey & Hawkes vocal score is published on sale.
> Info on The Peacemakers tour 

Boosey & Hawkes and Music Nation
Music Nation is a nationwide weekend of live events on 3 and 4 March devised and led by the BBC, including performances by the six BBC Performing Groups. The weekend is the first nationwide countdown event to the London 2012 Festival. From Cornwall to the Shetland Isles and Belfast to Birmingham, Music Nation is an unprecedented collaboration of the UK’s orchestral and music-making communities – built primarily around classical music, but also taking in jazz, folk and world music.

Music Nation events with music published by Boosey & Hawkes include:

James MacMillan: Fanfare Upon One Note (world premiere)
3 March, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Donald Runnicles

Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
3 March, youth dance project in Derby
Bounceback/Sinfonia Viva/choreograper Tom Dale

Karl Jenkins: Songs of the Earth (world premiere)
4 March, St David's Hall, Cardiff
BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales/County Youth Choirs/Karl Jenkins

Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream
28 February - 6 March, Barbican Theatre, London
Guildhall School of Music and Drama

> BBC Music Nation

Boosey & Hawkes and the Cultural Olympiad
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Since 2008, the Cultural Olympiad has featured programmes and projects inspired by London 2012, culminating this summer in the London 2012 Festival.

Cultural Olympiad events with music published by Boosey & Hawkes include:

John Adams: Son of Chamber Symphony (new ballet)
19-23 June, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
28-30 June, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
4-8 July, Grounds of Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London

Scottish Ballet/choreographer Martin Lawrance

James MacMillan: Gloria (world premiere)
23 June, Coventry Cathedral 50th anniversary
Ian Bostridge/Choral Society of Coventry Cathedral/St Michael's Singers/
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/James MacMillan

Benjamin Britten: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
23 June, Southbank Centre, London
Simon Bolivar Orchestra/Gustavo Dudamel

Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story (new production)
4-7 July, The Sage, Gateshead
Northern Sinfonia/John Wilson/choreographer Will Tuckett

Mark-Anthony Turnage: Beyond This (London premiere)
5 July, St Marylebone Church, London
13-15 July, Southbank Centre, London

Music in Prisons project

Karl Jenkins: Gods of Olympus (world premiere)
6 July, Royal Albert Hall, London
The Really Big Chorus/Brian Kay

Mark-Anthony Turnage: Trespass (world premiere of new ballet)
14-20 July, Royal Opera House, London
16 July, BP Summer Big Screens
Royal Ballet/choreographers Alastair Marriott and Christopher Wheeldon

Wynton Marsalis: Swing Symphony (Symphony No.3) (UK premiere)
25-26 July, Barbican, London
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra/London Symphony Orchestra/Simon Rattle

Benjamin Britten: Noye's Fludde
10-12, 17-19 August, Belfast Zoo
NI Opera/director Oliver Mears

> Cultural Olympiad
> London 2012 Festival
> London 2012 Inspire programme

> Further information on Work: Songs of the Earth

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