Bringing Khadambi's House to LSO St Luke's

Tomorrow night's Soundhub Showcase at LSO St Luke's features a whole host of new music from composers on the LSO Soundhub composers' scheme, including several by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian. Cevanne has spent the last couple of years as resident composer at Khadambi's House, 575 Wandsworth Road, a beautifully hand-decorated National Trust property owned by LSO Patron Susie Thomson. In this post Cevanne describes how she has been preparing for this showcase of her work...

Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian at 575 Wandsworth RoadCevanne Horrocks-Hopayian in the hallway at 575 Wandsworth Road

We’re all working hard to prepare for the Soundhub concert at LSO St Luke’s on Saturday, so this is a quick post!

I had a lovely time yesterday accompanying members of the LSO Community Choir on Susie Thomson’s tour of 575 Wandsworth Road. It’s touching that the choir wanted to continue working with us after our workshop in 2015, and it was a treat to be able to point them to the exact features of the house which have formed their new piece, The Fence-Sitter.

We were also joined by Jonathan Hargreaves, who will conduct my new pieces on Saturday.

Jon Hargreaves at 575 Wandsworth RoadJonathan Hargreaves meets Susie Thomson at 575 Wandsworth Road

This is a special new stage for the project, because until now, we have worked with small groups in the house, and with quite a free, collaborative exchange. On Saturday we’ll have 12 performers, in a concert hall, with projections, and we can be as loud as we like without upsetting any neighbours! It’s been wonderful to learn from Jonathan’s perspective, and efficiency.

I had an operation recently which knocked me out of my work-flow, so I became rather self-conscious when writing my latest piece for the house. I’m grateful that Susie encouraged me to appreciate the wit in Khadambi’s work, because I finally got the courage to write a scherzo, and a wonky dance, for the remarkable women he painted in his bathroom – Sappho, Cleopatra, Pocahontas, Madame de Pompadour, Bessie Smith and Pavlova.

Bessie SmithKhadambi’s line-drawing of Bessie Smith, as captured for projections in Saturday’s concert

This new enjoyment of humour has developed gradually over my two years at the house. My initial response was one of reverence, meditating on loss and achievement, but now I feel like celebrating existence – and this concert is the perfect setting.

For those of you who can’t make it on Saturday, I’ll be back in touch with footage of the event, and I’d like to tell the stories behind the new pieces.

I’m also looking forward to hearing the premiere of Evening, a setting of Khadambi’s poem by Soundhub composer Pedro Faria Gomes, and hopefully he will write a post about it, too.

Soundhub Showcase rehearsalEvening in rehearsal with LSO violist Anna Bastow, soprano Ziazan Horrocks-Hopayian, composer Pedro Faria Gomes, and conductor Jonathan Hargreaves

The LSO Soundhub Showcase takes place at LSO St Luke's at 7pm on Saturday 11 February 2017. Tickets are £7 (£5 concessions) and can be purchased online here. As well as Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, the concert features works by Oliver Leith, Lee Westwood and Pedro Faria Gomes performed by members of the London Symphony Orchestra and LSO Community Choir conducted by Jon Hargreaves and Lucy Griffiths.