London's Cultural Guide

One of the foyers at the Barbican where London Symphony Orchestra will be performing this March

The Barbican wants 500 Londoners to perform this spring

The only requirement is in fact an availability to attend rehearsals, says composer David Lang


ppearing at one of the capital’s most legendary venues in 2019? Now that sounds like our kind of New Year’s resolution.

If that’s yours too – and if not, it really should be – the London Symphony Orchestra needs 500 people “from all walks of life” to take part in the UK premiere of David Lang’s The Public Domain this spring.

American composer Lang wrote the work in 2016. Searching for a way to capture shared experiences through music, he typed “One thing we all have is our…” into Google, and used the auto-fill function to see how people around the world completed the sentence. He then used this information to compose the piece. Clever, huh?

“The Public Domain is designed for the entire community we live in, so it doesn’t require music professionals, although they are welcome,” says Lang. “Performers and audience should be indistinguishable from each other. I don’t want the audience to feel separated from the performers, in location, dress, ethnicity, ability, etc; rather, the performers and audience should be mixed together, in all ways, so that non-performers might feel that they share the communal space with the performers.”


The only requirement is in fact an availability to attend rehearsals on dates from Jan-March (there are no auditions, and there’s no requirement to read music).

Taking place throughout the foyers (see main pic), the show explores the use of space in live music, and is immediately followed by Philippe Manoury’s Ring, in which the LSO encircles the audience entering the Barbican Hall, and the world premiere of The Poem of Ecstasy, a new work by Donghoon Shin and Scriabin’s, conducted by LSO’s François-Xavier Roth.

Sounds like one not to miss, whether you’re one of the lucky performers – or simply watching the proceedings, pint in hand.

The Public Domain at the Barbican is 24th March, more info and how to apply here.

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