Avant-garde music at the Barbican (that doesn't short-change on tunes)

A whole bunch of musicians are defiantly blurring the boundaries between pop and classical music right now with often electrifying results. The current contemporary music season at London's Barbican has been showcasing some of the most interesting meddlers.

They include Sufjan Stevens (above) who'll be joining forces with The National's Bryce Dessner (below) and wunderkind-composer Nico Muhly on 9 April. Last time Stevens was in London his show climaxed with him climbing into a home-made tinfoil rocket costume, so fans are suitably excited. So excited, in fact, that tickets sold out before the Barbican's listing pamphlet was even printed, though returns may be available.

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Even if you don't get in for the Stevens-Dessner-Muhly mash-up, the programme has many delights to investigate. We've recently enjoyed a heart-stopping performance of Nico Muhly's work "The Only Tune" performed by violinists wandering dawn the aisles; tonight it's Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood working with avant-garde composer Krzysztof Penderecki who'll perform with the AUKSO Tychy Chamber Orchestra, and coming soon the plaintive Californian indie band The Mountain Goats taking to the stage with a cappella group Anonymous 4.

That's just a sample of the quirky events happening (and we haven't even got round to mention Kimmo Pohjonen's Accordion Wrestling, coming in June) but if you want to branch out from the usual guitar-bass-drums-keys pop/rock set-ups, any one of them could significantly expand your musical horizons, which all sounds good to us.

For full programme listings visit barbican.org.uk 

 

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