BBC Concert Orchestra: Streets of America

Thursday 18th January 2024

From West Side Story to Biden’s America: Kwamé Ryan shares the USA’s untold stories, including the UK premiere of a piece by Gabriel Kahane.


What brings you here? Have you ever been evicted? Have you ever been denied a lease or loan? The American composer Gabriel Kahane didn’t have any answers until he started talking to the homeless of contemporary America.

emergency shelter intake form is his response: a very modern oratorio, performed for the first time in the UK by the BBC Concert Orchestra in collaboration with the community chorus of Streetwise Opera.

The classical tradition collides with the voices – and the lived experience – of homeless people and the result is passionate, direct and startlingly sincere.

Conductor Kwamé Ryan opens with two more American cityscapes: West Side Story is as thrilling now as it was in 1957, but the tragedy at its heart is as raw, and as real, as ever.

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