Modern music: London’s Barbican sways to the tune of mountains and waves

Mountains and Waves musical show
’Mountains and Waves’, the six-session marathon curated by The National guitarist Bryce Dessner hosted at London's Barbican this weekend will include a range of artists, including the Britten Sinfonia group (pictured), Sufjan Stevens and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Photography: Harry Rankin
(Image credit: Harry Rankin)

London’s Barbican will swell and sway to the sound of modern American music this weekend, hosting a six-session marathon tagged ’Mountains and Waves’ and curated by The National guitarist Bryce Dessner.

It includes the European premier of ‘Round-Up’, a musical and cinematic take on the rodeo tradition, conceived by alternative-folk hero Sufjan Stevens and cinematographers Aaron and Alex Craig and performed by percussion/piano quarter Yarn/Wire and concludes with ‘Wave Movements’, a new orchestral work by Dessner and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry and backed by a video work by Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Also on the bill is the European premier of Black Mountain Songs, a song cycle performed by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and dedicated to the radical Black Mountain College in North Carolina (which once included Josef and Ani Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Walter Gropius, Willem de Kooning and Buckminster Fuller on its teaching staff, though not all at the same time.) There will also be performances of key pieces by the big boys of minimalism and post-minimalism, including Steve Reich’s ‘Drumming’, and Terry Riley’s ‘In C’, as well as the work of younger American composers such as John Luther Adams , Nico Muhly and Caroline Shaw.


Barbican Hall, Milton Court Concert Hall and St Giles, Cripplegate