A new work by composer Dobrinka Tabakova is at the heart of this intimate concert inspired by the healing potential and power of the natural world – performed live with Manchester Camerata, one of the UK’s most exciting and versatile orchestras.

A whisper of melody, played by a lone violin, gradually grows and shapes into the stirring sweep of a full string section – echoing, perhaps, the resolute journey of a seed from the Earth towards the Heavens. This is The Patience of Trees, a new concerto for violin, strings and percussion by acclaimed composer Dobrinka Tabakova.

Devised by Hugo Ticciati, designed by Amanda Stoodley, with lighting design by Andy Purves and performed with Manchester Camerata, the programme also features Tabakova’s reflective Frozen River Flows, Steve Reich’s pulsing New York Counterpoint, Vulpes Vulpes a new commission by Paul Saggers the winner of the O/Modernt Composition Award and Todo Era Vuelo En Nuestra Tierra by Julieta Szewach who received Special Distinction. Together, the works combine into a timely meditation on nature and the city – and a reflection of sorts on our welcome emergence from our last year.

Dobrinka Tabakova said: “The concept for this new work began when Hugo Ticciati first approached me to write a concerto for him, while we were both artists in residence at the Davos Summer Festival in 2018. I began sketching more intensely, just as the pandemic forced global lock downs. I was reading Max Adams’ ‘The Wisdom of Trees’ and Peter Wohlleben’s ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ as well as poetry which complemented the strong desire to connect even more deeply with nature, as we were isolated from each other.”

Hugo Ticciati said: “The moment I heard the music of Dobrinka Tabakova I was drawn by its contemplative immediacy. Her music’s elemental nature perfectly evokes the journey of a solitary tree as it looks within to discover that it is in fact connected to everything – a beautiful metaphor of our own journey of searching.”

Bob Riley Chief Executive, Manchester Camerata said: “Our long relationship and collaboration with MIF is something we are really proud of. Together, we get the opportunity to re-imagine, dream big, and conjure new ways of experiencing music, and most importantly to have such a great platform on which to welcome back our audiences and invite in new ones to a live concert in our home town. This time we have the great privilege of premiering a new piece written by Dobrinka. The orchestra love her music and style and we can’t wait to play this new piece, which is all the more special because it is with our great friend and the mercurial spirit which is Hugo Ticciati.”

Manchester International Festival Artistic Director & Chief Executive, John McGrath says: “MIF has always been a Festival like no other – with almost all the work being created especially for us in the months and years leading up to each Festival edition. But who would have guessed two years ago what a changed world the artists making work for our 2021 Festival would be working in?

From legendary Argentinian artist Marta Minujin’s decision to give the world’s most famous clock, Big Ben, a temporary new home in Manchester to Cephas Williams’ celebratory activist artwork Portrait of Black Britain, the ways in which artists have used the opportunity of the Festival to reflect on life now has been inspiring. Our programme is very different to the one we had almost-fully planned at the start of last year, but I hope it feels urgent and right.”

“We hope MIF21 will provide a time and place to reflect on our world now, to celebrate the differing ways we can be together, and to emphasise, despite all that has happened, the importance of our creative connections – locally and globally.”


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