The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra perform Matthew Hindson’s six-minute orchestral fanfare Headbanger at Symphony Hall this February. Lee Reynolds conducts the 2001 piece in a rush-hour concert on 8 February and in several schools’ concerts the same week.
Headbanger has received over fifty performances since its premiere, including in versions for wind and brass bands. In 2004 it was choreographed alongside Hindson's Rave-Elation by Bernd Schindowski for a run of performances at the Musiktheater im Revier (Gelsenkirchen), as part of the all-Hindson show Veitstanz, alongside other Hindson orchestral works. Headbanger was recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Kenneth Young in 2008.
Hindson writes of the piece,
The term "headbanger" usually describes an adherent of heavy metal music, and seems to come from the motion of severe head-shaking employed by audience members at heavy metal concerts. It is unlikely that many of the audience members will be induced to bang their heads upon hearing this piece. However, they may be able to hear some musical gestures that could be associated with heavy metal or rock music - such as an often-'heavy' bassline based around a repeated drone note, many bass-drum figures, generally loud dynamic levels, and quite aggressive rhythmic motives.
Headbanger is one of Hindson’s many pieces reflecting an interest in rock, electronic, and dance music. Hindson’s latest evening-length ballet score A Comedy of Errors, premiered in 2022 to critical acclaim, evokes rave and techno, just as in his earlier Technologic pieces. Homage to Metallica (1993/97) is a tribute to the heavy metal genre, with a distinctive ‘thrash’ part for an amplified 1/8-size violin; the virtuosic DeathStench (1995) for mixed chamber ensemble also makes use of amplified solo instruments – flute and clarinet – and channels the dark motives and themes of the Death Metal genre.