New music from Bethnal Green with a vintage link

Gabriel Prokofiev @ Nonclassical, Cambridge Heath Rd, Bethnal Green, London © David Altheer 031014

WHEN ONLY two of his contemporaries turned up to the premiere by Gabriel Prokofiev of a new composition, he knew he was doing something wrong. The concert was reasonably well attended but the audience comprised mostly white-hairs – and no-hairs.

Where was his generation? Out clubbing, of course, not sitting stiffly in some formal venue.

His answer was to take the music to them. In the clubs, pubs and other places where the enjoyment of sounds was not tied to archaic social codes, he found an audience for his performances, adventurous outings of work that is still known as classical even though it may have been written last week. He himself has mischievously entitled his outfit Nonclassical.

To celebrate its tenth anniversary, Nonclassical is having a residency at Red Gallery in Shoreditch this week, including DJs playing his take on electronica, a panel discussion and an exhibition of photographs.

Prokofiev, top and below, works on his shows, and recordings for his Nonclassical label, with a small team, in a 1950s building in Bethnal Green.

Gabriel Prokofiev @ Nonclassical, Cambridge Heath Rd, Bethnal Green, London © David Altheer 031014Among his compositions is a concerto for turntables and orchestra and a violin concerto, premiered at the BBC Proms, with soloist Daniel Hope in front of an orchestra from Istanbul.

Perhaps this grandson of the great Russian musical innovator Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) can give alternative/left-field/serious-classical – call it what you will – the kick up the dinner jacket it has so long needed.

David Altheer 201014

* Nonclassical residency, Red Gallery, 1 Rivington Street EC2A 3DTA, 5pm-11pm. Good disabled access. Tickets £6 advance, £8.

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