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Manchester Collective announces new season of experimental programming

Known for its daring performances in club spaces and warehouses, the Manchester-based ensemble is headed for the more traditional settings of Wigmore Hall and the BBC Proms

Published: July 14, 2021 at 7:04 pm

After the success of its recent audiovisual installation, Dark Days, Luminous Nights, the Manchester Collective has announced its new season – with upcoming debuts at Wigmore Hall and the BBC Proms.


The Manchester Collective has become known for its unusual stagings, inventive programming and collaborations with leading artists from a wide range of disciplines. The ensemble's new season will include projects with harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, composer Hannah Peel and cellist and singer Abel Selaocoe and his trio Chesaba, as well as composer Edmund Finnis, whose work The Centre is Everywhere was recently performed by the Collective and released on its debut album with the Iceland-based Bedroom Community label. The ensemble will also perform the piece at its Proms debut this summer.

You can read our review of the Manchester Collective's recording of The Centre is Everywhere here. You can buy the recording from Amazon.

The season has six world premieres planned, from composers including Hannah Peel, Abel Selaocoe, Lyra Pramuk, Alice Oswald, Ben Nobuto Vessel (Sebastian Gainsborough).

The genre-defying South African cellist, composer and singer Abel Selaocoe joins the Manchester Collective again, following their tour together in 2019. Their new partnership will combine music from South Africa, the Ivory Coast and Mali with 20th-century classical repertoire.

The Manchester Collective has a number of major residencies planned at London's Southbank Centre, St George's Bristol and Hallé St Peter's in its home city of Manchester. Also planned for the season are listening parties, film screenings and a series of curated events bringing together food, drink and live music at Where The Light Gets In, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Stockport.

Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani will join the ensemble for at this year's BBC Proms, playing Górecki's Harpsichord Concerto, Joseph Horovitz's Jazz Concerto for harpsichord, strings and jazz kit, and Dobrinka Tabakova's Suite in Old Style. Also on the programme is a new string orchestra arrangement of The Holy Presence of Joan d'Arc by the cult American minimalist composer Julian Eastman, whose work is currently undergoing something of a renaissance. You can find out how to buy tickets for this year's BBC Proms here.

Founded in 2016 by Adam Szabo and Rakhi Singh, the Manchester Collective has become known for its experimental programming and untraditional concert spaces.

Manchester Collective co-founders Rakhi Singh and Adam Szabo. Photo by Robin Clewley (1)
Manchester Collective co-founders Rakhi Singh and Adam Szabo

The announcement of its new season comes off the back of the Collective's recent audiovisual installation, Dark Days, Luminous Nights, which took place at the White Hotel in Salford, a former MOT garage which sits in the shadow of Strangeways Prison.

We named the White Hotel as one of Manchester's best music venues.

5. Dark Days, Luminous Nights at The White Hotel, Salford. Photo by Drew Forsyth © Manchester Collective

Inspired by a journey along the River Irk, Dark Days, Luminous Nights brought together music, film, dance, movement and photography. Multimedia artist Simon Buckley captured images of Manchester and Salford in the depths of night in midwinter during the pandemic, exploring decay, gentrification, displacement, regeneration and transition in cities.

Buckley's images were paired with a film starring dancer and artist Blackhaine, as he leads a group of people through this dense, urban environment, between the hours of 6pm and 5am. The Manchester Collective provided the accompanying soundscape for the experience, which encapsulated a moment in time: a city quietened by the effects of a global lockdown.

Watch these videos from the Manchester Collective to find out more about its Dark Days, Luminous Nights project:


Manchester Collective's Rakhi Singh and Adam Szabo picked out the best music venues in Manchester for BBC Music Magazine.


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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