Derrick May and the Orchestra

29 Aug 2019 Approximate run time: 150 mins

The Detroit-born founding father of techno leads the City of London Sinfonia orchestra in interpretations of his pioneering works of electronic music, conducted by Dzijan Emin.

The orchestra plays classics from Derrick May’s seminal recordings, including Rhythim is Rhythim and Mayday, which remain iconic three decades later.

Derrick May met Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson as a teenager. Inspired by European electronic sounds, black American dance music and the idiosyncratic broadcaster The Electrifying Mojo, the trio began to DJ together under the name Deep Space Soundworks in the early 1980s, creating the Detroit techno sound.

In 2013, producer Ognen Uzunovski asked Macedonian musician Dzijan Emin to reinterpret Derrick May’s catalogue for the Symphony Orchestra, and the orchestral project was born.

May says, ‘When I first heard [my music] performed by the orchestra, it was very emotional; it felt like a moment of accomplishment, an endorsement of everything I’ve done over the years.’

The orchestral project was premiered in Ohrid in 2015 with Macedonian Philharmonic and has since been performed with Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen, Orchestre Lamoureux, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

May also runs the Transmat label, which he set up in 1986 to nurture the next generation of Detroit techno producers, with releases by Psyche (Carl Craig), and Suburban Knight (James Pennington), among others.

A Detroit legend who paved the way for dance music to be where it is today

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