Space Afrika © Chloé Magdelaine and Timon Benson

Straddling the worlds of classical and electronic music, Manchester Camerata will perform at Stoller Hall with the pioneering duo Space Afrika on Saturday 14th May as they continue celebrating their 50th year. The programme will consist of an audiovisual set by Space Afrika featuring music from their back catalogue and unreleased material as well as a performance of Steve Reich’s revolutionary Music for 18 Musicians by the Camerata. Space Afrika will also be joined on stage by an ensemble of Manchester Camerata musicians to perform new arrangements of their music.

Originating from Manchester themselves, Space Afrika have gained considerable popularity following the release of their album Honest Labour, which topped Resident Advisor’s Album of the Year List in 2021. Honest Labour includes classical strings and vocal cameos, and is as a whole at the axis of musical composition and sound design. It was made from and is a companion to life under lockdown.

The duo’s music represents the forefront of the electronic music scene and reflects Black British city life. As Steve Reich’s work also reflects metropolitan life, this concert will fuse musical representations of urban life from both sides of the Atlantic.

With its highly unusual structure and harmonic landscape, Music for 18 Musicians is a cornerstone of minimalism and assimilates features from various other styles. Experiencing it live is a rare opportunity to hear an important modern composition.

Manchester Camerata have a long history of working with electronic artists and expanding the cultural and musical possibilities of the orchestra, dissolving perceived boundaries between genres. They’ve worked with avant-garde sound artist William Basinski and German electronic music producer Sven Helbig, in addition to their popular Haçienda Classiçal series with DJ Graeme Park and Peter Hook.

With its bold juxtaposition of classical and electronic music, this concert emphasises Manchester Camerata’s commitment to diverse programming. Rarely does an orchestra combine classical with this kind of contemporary music; in doing so, the Camerata will draw parallels between these outwardly disparate styles, driving change across the classical music sector.