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Two Opera North commissions for Hull 2017 UK City of Culture


The first part of the programme for Hull’s year in the limelight as UK City of Culture 2017 has been announced today, including two new commissions by Opera North.

Ten Worlds upon Humber Bridge (working title) is a sound installation made for the iconic Humber Bridge, featuring the Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North. It is composed by the Norwegian trumpeter and contemporary jazz musician Arve Henriksen, electronic musician Jan Bang and guitarist Eivind Aarset mixing their own music, orchestral music and field recordings made at the Humber Bridge by Hull-based sound artist Jez Riley French.

Ten Worlds will provide visitors to the Humber Bridge with a unique audio experience, designed to be listened to during a walk across the bridge’s 2,220-metre span – the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world that it is possible to cross by foot. It will uncover the hidden sounds of the bridge and its surrounding natural environment of river and fens, pairing these with music both atmospheric and epic.

Ten Worlds launches in April 2017 with a weekend of special timed group walks that include live music and performance only to be heard that weekend, and will then be available to experience for the following months. Visitors need only collect a headset on arrival at the bridge to activate a unique sonic experience that unfolds as they walk the length of the bridge.

The second new commission, Winestead, is an original 15-minute composition by Gavin Bryars, for Voice and Chamber Ensemble. Inspired by the eerie, flat landscape east of Hull towards the North Sea, Winestead sees Gavin Bryars, originally from Goole, returning to his East Yorkshire roots in his first work directly inspired by his birthplace.

Winestead will have its world premiere at the Church of St Germain, Winestead, in June 2017, before further performances at two exciting music festival weekends in July - at Hull 2017 UK City of Culture and at London’s Southbank Centre - as part of PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial 2017. The piece will also be screened online by Opera North and Hull 2017 UK City of Culture.

Opera North’s vibrant Education department has been delivering the highly innovative Opera North Singing School project at Bude Park Primary, as part of a Community Residency programme in Bransholme in Hull since 2014. The company will also present a further series of events and opportunities for young people in the city to get involved in music and the arts throughout 2017. 

Composer and trumper player Arve Henriksen in a recording session at Opera North. Photo credit: Danny Payne
The Humber Bridge

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