On Saturday 10 June 2023, a giant temporary stage hosted Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra for a free concert for an audience of thousands in one of the world’s most iconic public spaces, Trafalgar Square, and to thousands more watching the live stream on YouTube.
At the heart of the programme was the world premiere of Eloise Gynn’s new work, Light Dancing, specially commissioned for the concert. This dance inspired piece written for a mixed-ability orchestra brings together LSO musicians with 55 young musicians from east London as part of the LSO On Track partnership, and 18 students from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
Recording (from 49'00):
My original idea and title came from the image of light dancing, sparkling on moving water. However as the piece progressed it became something rather different. I was invited to create a part for shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) in the piece, and it became like a journey, or memoir, from various adventures I’ve had in the last few years, travelling and performing with both shakuhachi and cello.
Whilst collaborating and creating with musicians and dancers in Italy, Armenia and Hwaeomsa, a beautiful Buddhist temple in the Jirisan mountains of South Korea, I fell in love with the traditional music and cultures of these places, and elements of these seep into my musical language. The shakuhachi melody (later taken by oboes) has echoes from Armenia, and the extensive use of the temple block in the piece is inspired by the way the Korean monks accompany themselves in their daily chants. I hope the piece will bring moments of reflection to the busy heart of our capital city.
It is a huge privilege to have this new piece played by the LSO and this great group of young London musicians, and to play shakuhachi alongside them on stage. At the beginning of the process I very much looked forward to spending time with them to bring the piece to life. The prospect of it being part of the BMW Classics concert in Trafalgar Square has been beyond thrilling. And I would also like to thank Michael Soumei Coxall for his great generosity.