Manchester Camerata is delighted to announce its first two shows for 2021 - marking the orchestra’s long awaited return to public performances following the lifting of lockdown restrictions. These musically diverse and exciting concerts will be staged in its new home at The Monastery in Gorton where, in addition to creating a visually stunning space for live performances, Manchester Camerata will also transform it into an international innovation centre for music and health.

Kicking off the orchestra’s return to live concerts on Thursday 10th June, is Resonance: a stunning and ethereal night of classical music staged in the perfect and atmospheric setting of The Monastery. This show will feature five pieces of varying lengths, scale and style, each chosen specifically for how they will interact with the epic natural acoustics of The Monastery’s Great Nave. Opening with Gesualdo’s hauntingly stunning and peaceful O crux benedicta ( written in 1603), the evening continues with the more contemporary Steve Reich’s 2015 piece Pulse followed by a 20 minute rendition of Gavin Bryar’s bitter-sweet Jesus’s Blood Never Failed Me Yet – paying homage to The Monastery’s religious past. The final two pieces concluding the evening line up are Entr’acte by modern day composer Caroline Shaw – a piece whose title literary means “between the acts” and Oliver Leith’s Honey Siren.

In marked contrast, and highlighting the orchestra’s versatility and diversity, disco cellist meets classical minimalists in the Camerata’s second show of the year. On Saturday June 12th, the orchestra plays homage to three New York legends performing the celebratory and uplifting music of Arthur Russell, Philip Glass and Julius Eastman. The concert will be performed accompanied by live visuals portraying the vitality of New York City.

Poster: yellow cabs

Arthur Russell, cellist, singer, composer and producer of a new genre of music, was one that fluidly blended the distinct sounds of country and classical, disco and experimental composition. Russell spent his 20s and 30s mingling with the avant-garde of Lower Manhattan and this gritty New York scene heavily influenced his phenomenal body of work, most of which lay undiscovered until after his premature death from AIDS-related illness in 1992. The 2008 documentary Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell rightfully repositioned Russell as a cult figure, a maverick genius and the creator of some of America’s most beautiful songs.

Russell collaborated with classical composer and pianist (and fellow New-Yorker) Phillip Glass in 1983. Most famously know as a minimalist composer and for his work with the Philip Glass Ensemble, Glass has also worked with some of the biggest names in music; Mick Jagger, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Julius Eastman was an American composer, pianist, vocalist and dancer. He and Russell formed a deep kinship during the 70s and early 80s leading to Eastman conducting nearly all of Russell’s orchestral recordings (compiled as First Thought Best Thought).

Be it opening Glastonbury festival in front of 40,000 people or working intimately in care homes with people living with dementia, Manchester Camerata believes in the transformative and connecting nature of music and the impact it makes on health and well-being. Central to this belief is the orchestra’s new move to The Monastery in Gorton where it has taken up permanent residency. Like many places in the UK, Gorton suffers from deep inequalities - for young people, families (48% family poverty) and the community. However, as Kate Pickett, the Chair of the recently published Greater Manchester independent Inequalities Commission’ said, the events of the last year ‘have shown us the depth of the inequalities we must transcend but they have also revealed the strengths within our communities, our collective spirit’. That is  why Manchester Camerata will become part of the community in Gorton, to listen and respond to the needs of the community first, and collaborate and add to its diverse collective spirit, and become one of its many strengths.

Tickets for Resonance on Thursday 10th June and The Music Of: Arthur Russell, Philip Glass and Julius Eastman on Saturday 12th June at The Monastery, Gorton are on sale now.

Tickets for both shows are available to Gorton residents at the reduced rate of £3 per ticket per show.