The old gardener who is growing into Ligeti

The old gardener who is growing into Ligeti


norman lebrecht

May 23, 2015

The young conductor Jonathan Bloxham has sent us this from his festival, Northern Sounds:


gateshead gardener

photo (c) Kaupo Kikkas

Hi Norman, 

I’d like to you meet Dave, a 74 year old community gardener from Gateshead who has never been to a classical concert but on Sunday will be performing Ligeti at the Sage.

This is part of a unique collaboration between myself and the photographer, Kaupo Kikkas. It is a project called ‘100 Faces of Gateshead’ and in it we bring together 100 people from different backgrounds in the town to each play one part in Ligeti Poeme Symphonic for 100 Metronomes. The idea behind is that music, art, can bring people from all walks of life together without prejudicing one group or another.

To support the project visually, Kaupo has taken portraits of all 100 participants – disabled actors, CEOs, retired, students, clergy – and we’ve complied a multimedia video, a exhibition and a book of all the photographs to accompany the performance.

The performance is the opening concert of my Northern Chords festival.



  • John Borstlap says:

    A sympathetic project, and an original idea. To perform this piece well, is quite a logistical challenge though, but if it works-out, it’s great fun. It will surely contributing to community feeling. And the best part of it is that you even don’t need music to make it work.

  • Conor says:

    Kaupo Kikkas (Finnish or Hungarian I assume??) has probably the best name known to humanity. Also sounds like an interesting project!

  • Peter Klatzow says:

    “play” a metronome? In this piece you just let it go.