Thursday 28 Nov 2019, 6pmRoyal Festival Hall, London

Venue Box Office: 020 3879 9555

Pascal Rophé conductor

Claire Booth soprano

Augusta Read Thomas Selene (Moon Chariot Rituals) European premiere

Augusta Read Thomas Of Being is a Bird (Emily Dickinson settings)

Mythical goddesses and graceful birds whirl through the Royal Festival Hall in tonight’s concert, showcasing the full expressive range of the music of Augusta Read Thomas.

In Greek legend, Selene, goddess of the moon, rides across the sky in a chariot each night, bringing the light of the moon to the mortals below. In scoring Selene (Moon Chariot Rituals) for a combined ensemble of string quartet and percussion quartet, Thomas uses rhythmic patterns and dramatic harmonies to bring out both a sense of wonder and mystery, as well as the raw thrill of the goddess’s night-time ride through the heavens.

Of Being is a Bird sets two Emily Dickinson poems to music, framing an instrumental interlude. Over the three movements, delicate backing from the ensemble supports a luminous vocal line that grows gradually from an awed, slow texture evoking a sense of human wonder, into energetic, leaping melodies that bring to mind a bird in flight. Thomas wrote the piece especially for the virtuosic voice of soprano Claire Booth, the soloist in tonight’s performance.



  • Tickets: This concert is FREE and unticketed - just walk in
  • Running time: 45 minutes, no interval
  • Concert programme: Free programmes are available upon entry
  • Drinks: You can take drinks from the bar into this evening's performance
  • After the concert: ​Vladimir Ashkenazy conducts Grieg, Brahms, and Dvořák, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm

This concert is part of the Music of Today series