The Eye on Classical & Opera
Piano Circus and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic play at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall on Friday 8 Nov at 7.30pm.

Within the often conventional world of classical music, one has to applaud the energy and enterprise of Piano Circus. Founded in 1989, Piano Circus consists of six talented young pianists who just happen to like playing together at the same time.

Originally there weren't many pieces written for piano sextets, so Piano Circus began commissioning some of their own. Now, they're inundated by a dazzlingly wide range of works specially composed for their own unique ensemble.

The group chalks another exciting first this week with the world premiere of the Ghanaian jazz composer Gyimah Labi's Concerto for Six Pianos and Orchestra. This dynamic new opus forms the climax to an enterprising three-concert series from the Liverpool Phil, called Fire Work.

The fuse is being lit with crossover gospel/soul, modern rock and jazz- based events respectively.

For their jazz-driven evening, Piano Circus are joined by a seventh pianist, Joanna MacGregor, who is the soloist in a new Concerto by ex-Loose Tubes member Django Bates.

What's the Six Piano Concerto going to sound like? According to Ginny Strawson, one sixth of the ensemble "The Concerto's very rhythmic and thickly scored; the pianos are often used percussively and speeds range from quick to very quick." And difficult to play? "Well, not exactly easy," says Ginny.


The Oxford Contemporary Music Festival continues. On 8 November in the Jacqueline Du Pre Building, the Festival Ensemble plays Zappa, Norgard, Cashian, Cage, Nancarrow and Barry.

For further information (01865 261 384) 8 Nov pounds 8, pounds 5 concs