2001: A Space Odyssey

Screening with live music

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2012/13… more events…

Part of Universe of Sound… more events…

Part of Entertaining Erdington… more events…

Friday 14th June

Symphony Hall

Philharmonia Orchestra

Benjamin Wallfisch conductor

Ex Cathedra choir

2001: A Space Odyssey (film screening, Certificate U)

Live presentation in association with Warner Bros., Southbank Centre and the British Film Institute.

Concert lasts approximately 2 hours 45 minutes including a 20 minute interval.

2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the greatest science fiction films of all time, celebrated for its special effects and use of music. The film brought worldwide fame to Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, accompanying a primeval sunrise, and the unnerving music of Ligeti. It also created one of cinema’s most memorable images: a spaceship floating serenely through space to the strains of the Blue Danube waltz. This is a unique chance to experience it with the thrill of full orchestra, organ and chorus, all live for those unforgettable moments.

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, says of tonight’s concert:

A project like this shows exactly why the Philharmonia Orchestra is one of our great musical institutions. It prides itself on pioneering new and diverse ways of sharing music. Don’t miss!

Ex Cathedra is a Town Hall Associate Artist.




Review by Jon Perks, Birmingham Mail:

Click here for full review

…     “From the latter’s first bars, as apes discover how to use tools as weapons, the music and visuals work as one.

The crescendo as the lead ape, Moonwatcher, throws his newly acquired weapon into the air, is a real ‘neck Mohican’ moment. With the fabulous Ex Cathedra choir and Philharmonia Orchestra, the score took on another dimension as it was performed live, the film projected on a mammoth screen behind them.

Timpani boomed, strings murmured, brass fanfared each new age of man. While the likes of The Blue Danube paint a serene landscape, Ligeti’s spectral, eerie Requiem and Atmospheres are used to incredible effect for The Dawn of Man and Stargate sections, a haunting sea of voices singing noises, not recognisable words.

The overall effect was mesmerising…”     …



Review by Ian Harvey, Express and Star:

Click here for full review

…     “Kubrick’s genius in his choice of music for his film was laid bare as the Philharmonia Orchestra, under the baton of Benjamin Wallfisch, filled Symphony Hall with awe and power. Also Sprach Zarathustra (the Apollo mission launch music to so many of us of a certain age) appears no less than three times in the film and loses none of its ability to thrill and inspire for that.

But what this particular performance highlighted more than anything was the astonishing impact the selection of pieces by the modern composer György Ligeti have as they are scattered throughout the film.

The sighting of the second monolith, on the moon, and the still visually thrilling, acid trip-like journey to Jupiter and beyond were accompanied by jagged, pulsing sounds that were unnerving and utterly unworldly.”     …

Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring – 3D Performance

Thursday 21 April 2011 at 6.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Ilan Volkov conductor
Julia Mach dancer
Klaus Obermaier concept, artistic direction, choreography
Ars Electronica Futurelab interactive design & technical development
Alois Hummer sound design
Wolfgang Friedlinger lighting design

Varèse:  Tuning Up (sketch, completed by Chou Wen-Chung)

Ligeti: Lontano

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Any live performance of Stravinsky’s infamous Rite of Spring is a mind-blowing experience – the music alone is brim-full of raw emotion and ritualistic frenzy. Tonight, experience an astonishing interplay between reality and fantasy, as dancer Julia Mach’s live performance interacts with real-time computer-generated stereoscopic projections, translated into virtual reality with the aid of 3D spectacles for the audience. Digital wizardry meets the primeval world of Stravinsky’s ballet score! www.cbso.co.uk


Blog posts / review by Zyls:



…     “Tonight’s performance was very, very clever – the technology, commitment and work put into creating such a feast was impressive – the CBSO are truly world class, the dancer incredible and the capability of the technology – a brave mix of classical music, art and dance – hugely inspiring.”     …

Review by Roger Clarke, BehindtheArras:


“ANY visit to a theatre or concert is an experience but this is a theatrical experience that really means it. I defy anyone to leave at the end unscathed. Once in your mind you will never forget it.   […]

[…]  This takes 3D into whole new realms though, way beyond the fun and novelty stages. This 3D is a thing of art and beauty, of disturbing images, of despair and darkness, light and hope.Emotions and fears distilled on an electronic matrix.

It is astounding, fascinating, enthralling, stunning stuff – a new art form has been discovered. Classical music and ballet meets virtual reality.”     …

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:


…     “It is the account of the music, though, that proves to be the show’s saving grace. It is quite superbly played by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Ilan Volkov, and their hour-long programme begins – thankfully without glasses or choreography – with two more 20th-century classics. ”      …

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:


…     “This extraordinary presentation of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring was a total triumph, from the confident orchestral opening by the CBSO under the clear direction of Ilan Volkov (what fabulous delivery by Gretha Tuls of that notorious high bassoon solo!), through the mesmerically controlled movements of dancer Julia Mach, and the brilliant realisation of his own choreography by the concept-designer and artistic director Klaus Obermaier.”     …

Review by Geoff Read, MusicWeb:


…     “The swaying sensations of Spring Rounds were emphasised by the visions of Obermaier: the compulsive rhythm was synchronised to an undulating floor. Mach reminded me of a gymnast trying to keep her balance on a trampoline bed that’s been given a life of its own. This particular effect together with the computer enhancement as the dancer arms become elongated may be seen on www.riteofspring3d.thsh.co.uk. Weird enough in two dimensions, the addition of the third made it even more mind-boggling. It was a magic carpet-ride on which Volkov wound up the CBSO strings and brass players to engage in the lethal blitz that followed, strains of Stravinsky that foreshadowed World War I. The flying 3D shapes returned, penetrating missiles akin to a game of paintballing, such was the suggestive power of Obermaier. I emerged unscathed from the battering.”     …

Beethoven’s Pastoral

Thursday 24 June 2010 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Ludovic Morlot  conductor
Renaud Capuçon  violin

Bartók: Two Pictures 17′
Ligeti: Violin Concerto 28′
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral) 40′

It’s summer – so it must be Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. From its dewy-fresh opening to the serene Shepherd’s Hymn with which it closes, no composer has ever captured the healing power of nature more timelessly. Two centuries on, it’s still a candidate for the most relaxing piece of music ever written. Guest conductor Ludovic Morlot brings a uniquely Gallic lightness of touch to Beethoven’s inspiration – and plenty of colour for Bartók’s folk-flavoured miniatures. They’ll stand him in good stead for the amazing sound-world of Ligeti’s Violin Concerto. French virtuoso Renaud Capuçon brings all his skill to bear on the ravishing colours, child-like humour and crackling energy of this true modern classic.

Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:


…”Capuçon was dazzling, in both musicality and sheer physicality, as he tried to outwit his opponents by playing faster, quieter, louder and even by charming them with a beautiful, rapt romantic solo.” …

…”The CBSO’s wind players excelled in Bartok’s Two Pictures especially in the rumbustious village folk dances.”…