Hillsborough Memorial composed for Biennial

You'll Never Walk Alone gates at Anfield

Liverpool Biennial, in partnership with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, will present a new, specially composed work by Michael Nyman, which will be performed at Liverpool Cathedral on Saturday 5 July, the opening weekend of Liverpool Biennial 2014. The work is supported by Liverpool City Council as one of the major new arts commissions for the Liverpool International Festival for Business.

Michael Nyman’s new symphony, entitled Hillsborough Memorial, will be performed by the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with Liverpool-born mezzo soprano Kathryn Rudge and Liverpool Philharmonic Youth and Training Choirs, conducted by Josep Vicent.

Symphony No. 11: Hillsborough Memorial represents the culmination of Michael Nyman’s thinking around the tragedies connected with Liverpool Football Club. 25 years after the Hillsborough disaster, he says that he hopes it will make a small but significant contribution to the healing process still necessary for the families of the lost fans.

Symphony No. 11 also restores the work known as Memorial to its original 1985 context (having subsequently become well-known in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover). In this new version for voice and orchestra, Kathryn Rudge will sing the names of the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives, accompanied by music Nyman was recording on the afternoon of the Hillsborough tragedy.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “We will never forget those who lost their lives at Hillsborough, or the impact it had on their bereaved families. The anger, pain and sorrow they have felt for the past 25 years is shared by everyone in Liverpool, and by thousands of others across Merseyside, across the country and around the world.

“Memorials are a symbol of our solidarity and support for the families, and Nyman’s specially commissioned piece of music will be a moving and unforgettable tribute. It is certain to be a highlight of this year’s Biennial and a fantastic example of art being used to help shine a light on the dignity and bravery of those who have strived for justice for the 96.”

Dean of Liverpool, the Very Revd. Dr. Pete Wilcox, said “One of my first encounters with Liverpool Cathedral was on the day of the Hillsborough Panel Report a few days before I took up my role in September 2012. I was proud that our cathedral was able to provide a place of comfort and support on that difficult day and I believe that our building will be an equally fitting venue for Michael’s symphony. My hope is that the magnificent acoustic and a sense of God’s presence will enable this world renowned composer’s piece to offer us all space to reflect and find a further measure of healing, as the 96, the survivors and their families are remembered. It is poignant that the performance will have the fresh inquests as a backdrop.”

Full details of ticket booking will be published on the Liverpool Biennial website on Friday 9 May. A recording of the piece will be available for the duration of Liverpool Biennial 2014.

As a separate project for the Liverpool Biennial 2014, Michael Nyman will create a new film installation entitled Aztecs in Liverpool. This is a two-screen video installation featuring still and moving images, including footage collected by Nyman over the past 20 years in his newly-adopted home, Mexico. The title refers to, and the work derives from, the presence in the World Museum in Liverpool of one of the finest Aztec codices, the Codex Fejervary-Mayer.  This will be displayed in The Walker Art Gallery.