29 June – 16 July 2017

Music for a Busy City

Mohammed Fairouz, Matthew Herbert, Huang Ruo, Anna Meredith, Olga Neuwirth, Philip Venables

World premiere

Music for a Busy City takes six leading composers out of the concert hall and into Manchester, making music for the spaces through which we pass every day.

This pioneering project features six new pieces of music, each created in response to a specific space in Manchester – from shopping centres and train stations to the Town Hall. Up to 10 minutes long, these recorded pieces will become part of the spaces that inspired them – playing in rotation every hour, so you can journey around town and hear each one in succession. Whether you make a special trip or stumble on the pieces by accident, Music for a Busy City will challenge your perception of places you thought you already knew.


Mohammed Fairouz has been hailed as ‘one of the most talented composers of his generation’ by the BBC.

Matthew Herbert’s works include albums, film scores, art installations and collaborations with everyone from Heston Blumenthal to Björk.

Huang Ruo draws inspiration from ancient Chinese music, rock, experimental music, noise, processed sound and other styles in his writing for everything from opera to sound installations.

Anna Meredith creates acoustic and electronic music for a wild variety of contexts and audiences. Varmints won the 2016 Scottish Album of the Year Award.

Olga Neuwirth writes multilayered and multisensory works for the stage, the concert hall and spaces beyond.

Philip Venables has been described by The Guardian as ‘one of the finest composers around’. His recent works include the award-winning opera 4.48 Psychosis.

Manchester Camerata will record music for Philip Venables, Mohammed Fairouz and Huang Ruo’s compositions. Leading sound engineer Pete Cobbin will collaborate with Matthew Herbert on his composition. Chinese Sheng soloist Wu Wei will contribute to Huang Ruo’s composition, and performance artist David Hoyle will contribute to Philip Venables’ composition.

Mohammad Fairouz
St Ann’s Square, M2 7HD
Matthew Herbert
Great Northern Warehouse, M3 4EN
Huang Ruo
Manchester Town Hall, M2 5DB
Anna Meredith
Walkway linking Selfridges and Marks & Spencer, M3 1BD
Olga Neuwirth
Victoria Station, M3 1WY
Philip Venables
Canal Street, M1 3EZ

Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival.

Photo: Manchester city centre, UK, February 2017
© Donald Christie