Brian Eno is heading out on his first ever solo live concert series, Ships, including a berth at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
Ships is a newly commissioned work from La Biennale di Venezia, with the first performance premiering on October 21 in Teatro la Fenice as the centre piece of the 2023 Venice Biennale Musica.
Ships features an orchestral adaptation of his 2016 album, The Ship as well as new and classic Eno compositions.
Eno will be performing together with Baltic Sea Philharmonic, orchestrated and conducted by Kristjan Järvi. The performance also features a cameo appearance from the actor Peter Serafinowicz as well as support from long-time collaborators, guitarist Leo Abrahams and programmer / keyboardist, Peter Chilvers.
“The album ’THE SHIP’ is an unusual piece in that it uses voice but doesn’t particularly rely on the song form,” says Eno. “It’s an atmosphere with occasional characters drifting through it, characters lost in the vague space made by the music. There’s a sense of wartime in the background, and a sense of inevitability. There is also a sense of scale which suits an orchestra, and a sense of many people working together.
“I wanted an orchestra which played music the way I would like to play music: from the heart rather than just from the score. I wanted the players to be young and fresh and enthusiastic. When I first saw the Baltic Sea Philharmonic I found all that…and then noticed they were named after a sea. That sealed it!”
“Brian is a great artist who has been an immense personal inspiration for a good part of my life,” says Kristjan Järvi. Now to be presented with an opportunity where we work on the presentation of a piece that reflects and shapes the world that we live in, is very meaningful and truly an honour.
“The freedom of expression is the key element in this presentation. Every person in this performance is just as important as the next. Everyone matters equally as much as the other and is not replaceable or expendable. To have an orchestra that is really a band rather than an orchestra which executes a performance but “is the performance” itself is what Brian and I see as the uniqueness of this collaboration.”
This premiere performance at the Biennale Musica marks Brian Eno’s first live tour in a five decade solo career and also his first appearance with orchestra. Eno has only ever played a handful of solo shows, the most recent in 2021 at the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Acropolis in Athens with his brother, Roger Eno.
Tickets are on sale from June 8.
Ships sets sail across Europe on these dates:
October 21, Venice ~ Venice Biennale Musica, Teatro la Fenice (3pm & 8pm)
October 24, Berlin ~ Philharmonie Berlin
October 26, Paris ~ La Seine Musicale
October 28, Utrecht ~ TivoliVredenburg
October 30, London ~ Royal Festival Hall, Southbank (6.30 & 9pm)