Music for a Busy City takes six leading composers out of the concert hall and into Manchester city centre, making music for the spaces through which hundreds of thousands of people pass through every week.

This pioneering project features six new pieces of music, each created in response to a specific space in Manchester – from warehouses and train stations to public squares and Manchester’s iconic Canal Street. Up to 10 minutes long, these recorded pieces will become part of the spaces that inspired them – playing in rotation every hour, challenging the common perceptions of these public and private spaces.

Austrian born Olga Neuwirth is known for her musical innovations since the 1990s by mixing electronics, video, noise, pop and classic. Therefore her work explores a wide range of forms and genres from sound installations to opera, radio-plays, exhibitions, videos, film-music and orchestral works. In many of her works she fuses live-musicians, electronics, space and video into genre-crossing audio-visual experiences. Her opera work includes Lost Highway based on David Lynch’s film and collaborations with the Nobel Prize winning writer Elfriede Jelinek. Olga Neuwirth writes multilayered and multisensory works for the stage, the concert hall and spaces beyond – including, for MIF17, a ‘short story with sounds’ for Manchester Victoria Station.

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Olga Neuwirth: on the hour

Matthew Herbert is a prolific and accomplished musician, artist, producer and writer whose range of innovative works extends from numerous albums to Ivor Novello nominated film scores as well as music for the theatre, Broadway, TV, games and radio. He has performed solo, as a DJ and with various musicians including his own 18-piece big band all round the world from the Sydney opera house, to the Hollywood Bowl and created music for installations, plays and opera. Matthew Herbert’s the machines our buildings used to hear pays evocative homage to the city’s industrial heritage using the sounds of 19th-century steam and hydraulic machinery.

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Matthew Herbert: 10 minutes past each hour

Described by Pitchfork as “one of the most innovative voices in British Music” Anna Meredith is a genre-crossing composer and producer whose work straddles the worlds of contemporary classical, art pop, electronica and experimental rock. Anna has been Composer in Residence for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, written for an MRI scanner, sound tracked PRADA, created symphonies for nursery children, music for sleep-pods in Singapore and Manchester and for park benches in Hong Kong. Anna Meredith‘s music has been performed everywhere from the Last Night of the Proms to the M6 services – and now, for MIF17, she’s written a chorale for lifts.

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Anna Meredith: 20 past each hour

Philip Venables has been described by The Guardian as ‘one of the finest composers around’ his music is often concerned with violence, politics and speech within concert music and opera. Having created concert music and operas across the world for places such as London Symphony Orchestra, Theatre Basel, HAU Theatre, his recent work includes the universally acclaimed and award-winning opera 4.48 Psychosis based on Sarah Kane’s play.

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Philip Venables: 30 minutes past each hour

Mohammed Fairouz is one of the most frequently performed, commissioned, and recorded composers of his generation. Hailed by The New York Times as “an important new artistic voice” and by BBC World News as “one of the most talented composers of his generation” his large-scale symphonies, operas and oratorios all engage major geopolitical and philosophical themes with persuasive craft and a marked seriousness of purpose. Mohammed has created Azan, a composition intended to cut through the noise of our day-to-day lives.

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Mohammed Fairouz: 40 minutes past each hour

Born in China in 1976, the year the Chinese Cultural Revolution ended, and having moved to America in his early 20s, composer Huang Ruo draws inspiration from ancient Chinese music, rock, experimental music, noise, processed sound and many other styles. Named “one of the world’s leading young composers” by the New Yorker, Huang has written for everything from orchestral works to operas, film scores and sound installations. Huang Ruo‘s music draws inspiration from everything from ancient Chinese music to processed sound – and for Inscribed, his inspiration has been Manchester Town Hall.

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Huang Ruo: 50 minutes past each hour

Manchester Camerata has recorded music for Philip Venables, Mohammed Fairouz and Huang Ruo’s compositions. Leading sound engineer Pete Cobbin has collaborated with Matthew Herbert on his composition. Chinese Sheng soloist Wu Wei has contributed to Huang Ruo’s composition and performance artist David Hoyle has contributed to Philip Venables’ composition

Listings information

Fri 30 June – Sun 16 July

Daily 8am–8pm

Olga Neuwirth Manchester Victoria station, Manchester, M3 1WY

Matthew Herbert The Great Northern Warehouse, 235 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4EN

Anna Meredith Walkway linking Selfridges and Marks & Spencer, Manchester Arndale, Manchester, M3 1BD

 Philip Venables Canal Street, between Sackville Street and Chorlton Street, Manchester, M1 3EZ

 Mohammed Fairouz. St Ann’s Square, Manchester, M2 7HD

Huang Ruo Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester, M2 5DB





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