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The Can Project Irmin Schmidt with London Symphony Orchestra/Thurston Moore + special guests

Saturday 8 April 2017 / Barbican Hall / 19:30
Tickets £20 – 35 plus booking fee

Keyboardist, composer and frequent collaborator Irmin Schmidt – who turns 80 in 2017 – is perhaps best known as a founding member of Can, leading avant-garde rock group of the 70s, and key influencers on the development of electronic music. In this Barbican show in Can’s 50th anniversary year, Schmidt will be conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, presenting the world premiere of an original orchestral work composed by Irmin Schmidt and Gregor Schwellenbach: An homage to Can, containing quotations of some of the band’s most well-known pieces. In addition Irmin Schmidt will also conduct the world premiere of the concert version of his ballet music La Fermosa. The second half of the show provides a diverging experience of Can material, as realised by a specially curated rock “supergroup” brought together by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore featuring Jaki Liebezeit, ex-Can drummer as well as Can’s first singer Malcom MooneySteve Shelley (Sonic Youth) and James Sedwards (Thurston Moore Group) plus special guests tba.  

Can, founded in 1967, were at the forefront of the krautrock movement in the late 60s and early 70s in Germany, along with bands such as Kraftwerk and Neu!; their debut album Monster Movie (1969) set them apart from the mainstream, carving out a sound that transcended the boundaries of experimental electronic, jazz and modern classical music.  Can’s influence extends from post-punk musicians such as Joy Division and Primal Scream, through avant-garde composers including Bernhard Lang, to Radiohead’s early 00s output.  Schmidt himself began his musical career as a pupil of Stockhausen and Ligeti, and conducted numerous high-profile orchestras in his native Germany and abroad. Hearing the sounds of Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa in the 60s led to the formation of Can but Schmidt never lost touch with his avant-garde classical upbringing, and it is to Schmidt that Can owed much of its musical eclecticism. To celebrate Can’s 50th anniversary in October 2017, Faber & Faber are publishing a new book devoted to Can. The coffee table special edition will come in two volumes, one will be the first complete, authorised biography of the band written by Rob Young and the second a collage of thoughts, visuals and interviews written and collated by Irmin Schmidt and Max Dax. The Barbican Can Project show will be preceded by a Q&A with Rob Young who will also read from his book. During an extended interval there will be a screening of Can’s 1972 live performance at the Cologne Sporthalle.

Produced by the Barbican Supported by the Goethe-Institut London    On sale to Barbican Members on Thursday 10 November    On general sale on Friday 11 November

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