How did the Kings Place project come about?
The New Zealand at Kings Place story began in 2008 when the New Zealand String Quartet visited London during a nine-concert European tour. Their Manager, Elizabeth Kerr joined them in London with the primary purpose of seeking a London-based agent who might represent them in the UK and Europe. Sarah Bruce of Lomonaco Artists came on board as a result. As well, venues and presenters in London were visited to explore future opportunities.
While in London Elizabeth met with Peter Millican, Chief Executive of the recently opened new Kings Place venue. Peter explained the innovative themed weeks of concerts that Kings Place had introduced, where artists curate the week, and he invited the Quartet to offer a group of programmes for a future week.
In early 2009 the Quartet developed an exciting set of programmes and pitched them to Kings Place. The result is New Worlds: New Perspectives, three programmes of music with the theme of migration across oceans, centuries and cultural boundaries. The multi cultural aspect of the programmes, which include many works by New Zealand composers inspired by cultural influences outside their shores, appealed to Peter Millican and Kings Place as suitable for the year of the London Olympics, 2012.
As the Kings Place weekly programme has a number of regular slots, it was decided to to extend and complement the Quartet’s themed programmes by including sessions across the week featuring other New Zealand artists and art forms. In the regular “Words on Monday” slot the proposal to showcase three generations of New Zealand poets with Bill Manhire, Tusiata Avia and Fleur Adcock reading from their work was accepted enthusiastically by Kings Place.
Composer Michael Norris was then invited to curate an experimental music concert for the Kings Place “Out Hear” weekly slot and when the venue accepted his programme The Body Electric the New Zealand at Kings Place mini-festival was complete. This programme sees a younger generation of New Zealand composers including Norris himself, John Coulter, Dugal McKinnon, John Croft, Alexandra Hay and Chris Black exploring concepts of body and space by combining live musicians with electronics and multimedia.
The programmes take place between 26 and 31 March 2012.
For more information about Kings Place – kingsplace.co.uk.