29 June – 16 July 2017

Music for a Busy City

Free event

Fri 30 June – Sun 16 July

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.

#busycity

Music for a
Busy City


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 have recorded the music for Philip Venables, Mohammed Fairouz and Huang Ruo’s compositions. Leading sound engineer Pete Cobbin has collaborated with Matthew Herbert on his work; sheng soloist Wu Wei has contributed to Huang Ruo’s piece; and performance artist David Hoyle features to Philip Venables’ composition.


Minutes past the hour First performance Last performance
Victoria Station – Olga Neuwirth 0 0800 1900
Great Northern – Matthew Herbert 10 0810 1910
Selfridges/M&S – Anna Meredith 20 0820 1920
Canal Street – Philip Venables 30 0830 1930
St Ann’s Square – Mohammed Fairouz 40 0840 1940
Town Hall – Huang Ruo 50 0850 1950

Talk: Music for a Busy City 
Elizabeth Alker (BBC Radio 3, BBC 6 Music) talks to composers Mohammed FairouzMatthew HerbertHuang RuoAnna Meredith and Philip Venables about their contributions to Music for a Busy City.
Pavilion Theatre, Sun 2 July, 12.30pm 

The Factory Panel: Spaces for Artists 
Choreographer Lucinda Childs (Available Light), composer Huang Ruo (Music for a Busy City), architect Ellen van Loon, director Walter Meierjohann and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist join MIF Artistic Director John McGrath to discuss cultural spaces from the artist’s perspective in this special panel inspired by The Factory, Manchester’s soon-to-be-built arts venue.

HOME (Cinema 2), Fri 7 July, 6pm 


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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