Manchester Collective: Neon

Thursday 19 May 2022

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As the sun starts to dip below the horizon, our cities change.

One by one, streetlights and neon signs flicker into life. This nocturnal world, this Neon world, is a place of mystery where anything is possible.

Built around Steve Reich’s monumental Double Sextet, this show interrogates the darker side of our urban dreams, evoking the intrigue and momentum of sleepless nights and crowded streets. These tunes are darkly swaggering, dirty, and sly.

A pair of Manchester Collective commissions lie at the heart of the programme – Hannah Peels titular Neon is inspired by light and life, fusing layers of live electronics and field recordings from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo with the acoustic performances of the Collective. In her first major chamber commission, Berlin-based Lyra Pramuk presents a sensual world premiere, a meditation on the nature of time, memory and human experience.

Elsewhere, David Lang’s underhand masterpiece Cheating, Lying, Stealing paints a picture of everything that can be wrong with a composer, and Julius Eastman’s much-maligned Joy Boy presents a totally unique musical world of ‘ticker-tape music’.

Opening the programme, The Age of Spiritual Machines is a new work for strings, electronics and two dancers by composer Daniel Elms and choreographer Alexander Whitley, exploring the relationship between music, movement and technology.

Fast. Slow. Fast. Keep up. Don’t be late.

Please note: Hannah Peel and Lyra Pramuk will not be performing live. They have been commissioned by Manchester Collective to compose some of the music in this programme.


Start time

Running time
2 hours 5 minutes

Daniel Elms & Alexander Whitley The Age of Spiritual Machines
David Lang
Cheating, Lying, Stealing
Lyra Pramuk New Work – World Premiere
Hannah Peel Neon
Julius Eastman Joy Boy
Steve Reich Double Sextet

£10 tickets for U30s members
(Limited availability applies)

In partnership with Leeds International Concert Season

Read our COVID-19 guidance »


Known for their experimental programming and daring collaborations, Manchester Collective perform a combination of cutting-edge contemporary music, classical masterpieces and staged work in venues ranging from concert halls to warehouses, nightclubs to festivals. New music and collaboration are of vital importance to the Collective; they commission and present work by some of today’s most exciting artistic voices, crossing different genres and artforms.

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Manchester Collective: Neon

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