Our exhilarating Nu Civilisation Orchestra (NCO) premieres Yazz Ahmed’s Polyhymnia – a revolutionary new work based on the lives of six strong role models – women who changed the course of the world – especially written for our first ever all-female professional ensemble, and one of the showcase gigs presented during the WOW! Women of the World Festival. Gary Crosby, NCO’s artistic director is passionate about making sure exciting fresh talent can explore complex themes and stretch boundaries to develop innovative new works of art, so he’s backing Yazz Ahmed’s desire to wow audiences with her new composition Polyhymnia – a new masterpiece – performed by an incredible all-female line up of our world class professional orchestra.
On International Women’s Day, when the focus is on the achievements and challenges that women face each and every day, Yazz’s work brings attention the need for spreading awareness about, and sharing the experiences of strong female role models. Coming from a place where she saw no relevant role models around her, Yazz’s Polyhymnia suite of six movements celebrates stories of exceptional female courage, conviction and resilience. Inspired by the lives of six influential and incredible statements of womanhood, individuals who ignite fundamental changes in norms and attitudes, the course of history or who quietly, daily become powerful sources of inspiration, audiences can expect to feel the poignancy of these extraordinary female leaders and inspirational role models through the music. Polyhymnia takes the audience and the NCO’s 12-piece female ensemble through a rousing and evocative odyssey as the musicians’ highly distinctive styles conjure up fascinating vignettes, reflecting the creativity and complexities of the composer’s movements, and of the six powerful women. Rising star and award winner Yazz’s unique brand of eclectic recoiling jazz rhythms reverberates through the piece capturing the intricacies of her themes and the vibe of all-female ensemble.
Polyhymnia – women change the world – a suite in six movement is based on the amazing lives of:
Haifaa al-Mansour, the first female Saudi film director, whose film Wadjda examined challenges and societal pressures facing girls and women in one of the world’s most restrictive countries;
Ruby Bridges, who at just six years old was the first African-American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in the south of the USA;
Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for fighting for her right to go to school and recently received the Nobel Peace Prize;
Rosa Parks, the African-American civil rights activist whose refusal to give up her bus seat for a white passenger helped bring an end to segregation;
The Suffragettes, British women fighting for the right to vote;
Barbara Thompson, British jazz saxophonist, battling Parkinson’s Disease and still performing despite being in excruciating pain every day.
Yazz Ahmed’s music, according to The Guardian is ‘all so fresh and inventive that it’s its own style’.
Nu Civilisation Orchestra
The Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Tickets from £15.00. Concessions 50%. Contact the box office 0844 875 0073 or book online. http://www.southbank.co.uk
Polyhymnia, composed by British-Bahraini composer and trumpeter Yazz Ahmed is a new commission by Tomorrow’s Warriors, made possible through the Women Make Music initiative from PRS for Music Foundation.