Kate Molleson: Sound Within Sound

Thu 6 Jul 2023, 7.45pm
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Literature & poetry
From £15
past event
past event
A woman with short brown hair wearing a black jumper
David Grinley

‘Wonderful . . . This is a book of discovery that speaks of music as a life force, that urges us to live our lives through music. '

Cosey Fanni Tutti

The author discusses her radical book, which fundamentally changes the way we think about classical music, in conversation with musicologist Jonathan Cross.

Spend an evening with author, journalist, critic and BBC Radio 3 broadcaster Kate Molleson for a celebration of her book Sound Within Sound.

The evening includes a discussion of Sound Within Sound and performances from the Ligeti Quartet and Siwan Rhys, inspired by the composers referenced in the book

This is the impassioned and exhilarating story of the composers who dared to challenge the conventional world of classical music in the 20th century.

Traversing the globe from Ethiopia and the Philippines to Mexico, Jerusalem, Russia and beyond, Molleson tells the stories of ten figures who altered the course of musical history, only to be sidelined and denied recognition during an era that systemically favoured certain sounds – and people – over others.

A celebration of radical creativity rooted in ideas of protest, gender, race, ecology and resistance, Sound Within Sound is an energetic reappraisal of 20th-century classical music that opens up the world far beyond its established centres, challenges stereotypical portrayals of the genre and shatters its traditional canon.

Kate Molleson is a journalist and broadcaster, and one of the UK’s leading commentators on contemporary classical music.

She presents BBC Radio 3’s New Music Show and Music Matters, and her articles are published in The Guardian, The Herald, BBC Music Magazine and elsewhere.

From 2010 to 2017 she was a music critic for The Guardian. Her documentaries (BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service) include a portrait of Ethiopian pianist/composer Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou and a feature on Mongolian opera.

The Ligeti Quartet has been at the forefront of modern and contemporary music since its formation in 2010, breaking new ground through innovative programming and championing of today’s most exciting composers and artists.

Welsh pianist Siwan Rhys enjoys a varied career of solo, chamber and ensemble playing, with a strong focus on contemporary music and collaboration with composers. Rhys is a member of piano-percussion duo GBSR Duo and new music group Explore Ensemble.

Jonathan Cross is Professor of Musicology at the University of Oxford. He has written, lectured and broadcast widely on issues in 20th- and 21st-century music. His publications include The Stravinsky Legacy, Harrison Birtwistle: Man, Mind, Music and Igor Stravinsky: Critical Life. He is currently completing a book on the music of Tristan Murail.

  • Ligeti Quartet
  • Siwan Rhys piano
  • Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou: Mother's Love for piano; Garden of Gethsemane for piano
  • Ustvolskaya: Piano Sonata No.6 in 1 part
  • Ruth Crawford Seeger: String Quartet 1931
  • Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou: Ballad of the Spirits for piano

Need to know

Age recommendation

For ages 16+

Dates & times

Thu 6 Jul 2023, 7.45pm
Approximate run time: 1 hour 30 mins.
Run times may vary by up to 20 minutes as they can be affected by last-minute programme changes, intervals and encores.


  • Standard entryFrom £15*
  • Concessions25%**

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