In collaboration with Poul Høxbro and Paul Clark, Manchester Collective are continuing their season of boundary-smashing concerts with Ecstatic Dances – a show that will see ancient music brought to life for 21st-century ears.
Hailing from Denmark, Poul Høxbro is a fascinating musician. His musical life began as a rock drummer before he stumbled upon a road less travelled: Andean folk music. Obsessing over this newfound niche, Poul – then a student – embarked on a lengthy trip around South America where he acquired the skills needed to perform this beguiling music.
Undertaking further study in medieval and contemporary classical music from across the globe, a vision started to crystalise in Poul’s mind: he would take medieval instruments out of the shadows of the past and into the spotlight of contemporary concert halls around the world.
Since those student days, Poul has established an international reputation for serious and original performances of medieval music. Performing both as a soloist and as a member of ensembles ALBA and ESK, he’s a master of all types of historical percussion and traditional flutes (he’s often labelled “the great man of small instruments”) but is chiefly known for resurrecting the popular medieval combination of pipe and tabor.
When Poul and Manchester Collective began talks about collaboration, they realised that the combination of instruments they were envisioning had literally never been heard before. Performing music both old and new, Poul will play a variety of flutes and percussion instruments alongside Manchester Collective’s Rakhi Singh and Simmy Singh (violins), Ruth Gibson (viola), Abel Selaocoe (cello) and Alan Keary (electric bass).
The programme’s new music comes courtesy of Paul Clark, a leading composer on the British theatre scene. Fresh off the back of a hugely successful collaboration with Renee Fleming and Ben Whishaw at The Shed in New York, Paul will be making his Manchester Collective debut with an exciting world premiere, the details of which are a tantalising mystery at this point. This will feature alongside Thomas Adés’ Arcadiana, Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite, and Ancient Songs and Dances from England, Scotland, and Denmark.
In typical Manchester Collective style, Ecstatic Dances will be somewhat of a high-wire show. “The set that we are presenting is all-new – terrifyingly, ink-barely-dry new”, say the daring arts organisation. “Fortunately, we’re not particularly fond of being comfortable”.
One of only four dates on Manchester Collective and Poul Høxbro’s Ecstatic Dances tour, their evening at The Stoller Hall promises to be a highlight of the venue’s Spring Season. Don’t miss it.