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Colin Currie Group

Ensemble

  • “Another performance that knocked my socks off was Colin Currie and his group doing Drumming at the South Bank [in London] this year. It was miked up high, it was expressionist, it was a brand new take. And I thought, Oh, we never could have done it that way.”
    Steve Reich on the Colin Currie Group, Irish Times, July 2011


    Led by British percussionist Colin Currie and comprising the UK’s finest percussionists, the Colin Currie Group is a virtuosic ensemble that specialises in the music of Steve Reich.

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  • Colin Currie Group was formed for a performance at the 2006 BBC Proms when Colin Currie was asked to curate a late-night event celebrating the music of Steve Reich, then in his 70th birthday year. Currie assembled a group of outstanding percussionists who gave their five-star debut at the Proms featuring Steve Reich’s Drumming.


    The Group went on to perform Drumming in a sell-out event at London’s Southbank Centre attended by the composer, who afterwards commented: “I think this man has taken this piece into another generation, yes, but beyond that into a finer level of performance and has opened it up to me as a kind of revelation, and I want to thank him.”


    With Reich’s endorsement, Currie and his ensemble have taken on the role of ambassadors of Drumming. The ensemble has since performed the work to great acclaim at many major UK venues and festivals, including Cheltenham, Birmingham Town Hall, Bristol, Perth and again at London’s Southbank Centre.


    Colin Currie Group have gone on to explore many of Steve Reich’s works, including Sextet, Mallet Quartet, Music for Pieces of Wood and Music for 18 Musicians. Their first performance of Music for 18 Musicians in 2013 was at a sold-out Royal Festival Hall in the presence of the composer, lauded as “technically impeccable and musically overwhelming” (Guardian) and “simultaneously static and bursting with event: a joyful conundrum” (Independent).


    In 2014 the Group gave the premiere of a new work by Steve Reich Quartet for two pianos and two vibraphones at Southbank Centre prior to touring this work throughout Europe. In future seasons Colin Currie Group will continue to add to their repertoire, including performances of Tehillim in the UK (Royal Festival Hall) and Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall for two performances in March 2017.


    The Group is in demand internationally, having made their international debut with two performances at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall in 2012 and in August 2013 their European debut at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. Recent seasons have included further performances at London’s Southbank Centre, Paris Cité de la Musique, Cologne Philharmonie, Prague Strings of Autumn Festival, Rotterdam De Doelen, Amsterdam Muziekgebouw, Gent, Dublin, Glasgow Minimal Festival, Cardiff and Saffron Hall.


    2015-16 highlights included the Finnish premiere of Quartet at Helsinki Festival and multiple performances of Music for 18 Musicians including a return to Southbank Centre and two performances in Rotterdam. In 2016-17 Colin Currie Group made their debut at Macau International Music Festival, as well as return to Southbank Centre and Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall for performances of Tehillim and further European performances including at Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg. Following a successful kickstarter campaign, Colin Currie Group will record Drumming in May 2017. 

    April 2017/ 535 words. Not to be altered without permission.

Performances

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Quartet

In October 2014 the Colin Currie Group premiered a new work Quartet by Steve Reich written specially for Currie, and scored for two pianos and two vibraphones. It was co-commissioned by the Southbank Centre, Carnegie Hall, Cite de la Musique and Cologne Philharmonie. The Colin Currie Group have planned more than 15 performances of the piece.


Further details on Quartet can be found at the website of publishers Boosey & Hawkes:


Listen to an audio clip on Soundcloud here


“The melody, touched in delicately by Currie and Sam Walton on vibraphones, seemed to be sung rather than struck. It was like a dancing song of praise, and suddenly we seemed to be somewhere ancient. Then, in the cheerfully dancing final movement, the New York neon lights came back.” Independent, October 2014


“Relaxed, intimate and bittersweet in mood, [Quartet] is a chamber work in essence, written with the kind of egalitarianism between the musicians that we often find in string quartets... The slow central section, with its twisting vibraphone lines and shifting harmonies, is somewhat impressionistic. Rhythmic propulsion in the more dynamic outer movements frequently gives way to block chordal figurations that briefly unite all four players in music of considerable rhythmic complexity.” Guardian, October 2014

Programme suggestions

The Colin Currie Group is a flexible ensemble ranging from 4 to 18 musicians and can offer a wide range of programmes, often collaborating with Synergy Vocals. Below are some examples, which can be interchanged and adapted freely.


Programme 1 (18 musicians)
Reich Music for Pieces of Wood
Reich Quartet (premiered 2014)
interval
Reich Music for 18 Musicians


Programme 2 (6 musicians)
Reich Clapping Music
Reich Sextet
interval
Reich Mallet Quartet
Reich Quartet (premiered 2014)


Programme 3 (12 musicians)
Reich Music for Pieces of Wood
Reich Mallet Quartet
interval
Reich Drumming


Programme 4 (13 musicians)
Reich Clapping Music
Reich Nagoya Marimbas
Reich Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ
interval
Reich Drumming


Programme 5 (12 musicians)
75 minutes, stand-alone
Reich Drumming


Programme 6 (30 musicians)
Reich Tehillim
interval
Reich Drumming


Other repertoire the group can offer includes:


Reich Violin Phase
Reich Dance Patterns
Reich Cello Phase
Reich Vermont Counterpoint (for flute and backing track)
Reich Double Sextet
Reich Four Organs
Reich Variations for Vibes, Pianos and Strings 

The performances, led by Currie, seemed exemplary. Each performance worked like a well-oiled machine, the players appearing to stroll from one instrument to the next. It’s the musical equivalent of a high-wire act; everyone is striving mightily to seem relaxed, but we know disaster is only one slip away.

Daily Telegraph, October 2014

The performance was technically impeccable and musically overwhelming; richly deserving of the lengthy standing ovation.

Guardian, November 2013

Held together by eye contact, ear contact, intimate understanding of the score and collective breathing, the performance was both aurally and visually exciting – a work of art and also one of craft at its most disciplined and alert.

Independent, February 2010

Intermusica represents Colin Currie Group worldwide

Catherine Gibbs
Associate Director
+44 20 7608 9946
cgibbs@intermusica.co.uk

Kate Caro
Senior Manager, Film & Multimedia in Performance
+44 20 7608 9932
kcaro@intermusica.co.uk

If you have any queries, please fill in the form below, and we will be in touch soon

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Chansonnier

HK Gruber

Special projects

Charles Hazlewood

Counter-tenor

Tim Mead

Rupert Enticknap

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles