Keaton Henson’s ‘Six Lethargies’ thrills a sell-out Barbican Hall

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Keaton Henson has penned his biggest and, in many ways, his most personal statement to date.  The eagerly-anticipated Six Lethargies premiered to a sell-out Barbican Hall, London on 20 July, with Mark Knoop conducting the Britten Sinfonia.

The six-movement, 75-minute work for string orchestra explores themes and issues surrounding anxiety and depression.  Henson’s struggles with depression are well-documented and, in addressing the issue head-on with his largest composition to date, he told his story through the music allowing the orchestra to be his voice, as well as providing human connection and insight into the condition.  

In addition, and as part of a unique experiment, audience members had their reactions to the music monitored throughout the performance via bio-metrics, which then allowed their emotional state to control the stage lighting in real time.

Six Lethargies was jointly commissioned by the Barbican Centre (London), National Concert Hall (Dublin) and Sydney Opera House (for Vivid LIVE). It receives its Irish premiere in April 2019 and Australian premiere in May 2019, and is soon to be recorded for future release.