CrossCurrents new music festival returns

Festival to showcase the UK’s most exciting emerging composers and artists.

The ground-breaking new musical festival CrossCurrents returns from 24th February-17th March after a Covid-enforced break.

With ten mesmerising concerts featuring 20 world premieres, this festival is a showcase of the UK’s most exciting emerging composers and artists, renowned guest performers and talented student musicians.

New music, electronics, jazz and folk are woven together, creating new sounds and never-heard-before experiences, presented by University of Birmingham concerts and events.

Highlights of CrossCurrents 2024 include Her Ensemble (pictured) on 24th February, a star-encrusted concert of music by women. Errollyn Wallen’s Concerto Grosso places a spotlight on the extraordinary talent within the ensemble with dazzling step-out solos, and there’s also the world premieres of two new works by Sasha Scott and Joanna Borrett.

Classical Italy features in this year’s programme: On 1st March, emerging pianist Siwan Rhys evokes the delicate, sorrowful Venetian waves lapping at the edge of silence in Luigi Nono’s …sofferte onde serene…. In contrast, the University’s New Music Ensemble perform Inferno on 2 March, a suite of thrilling new works inspired by Dante’s Inferno, performed by live and electronic instruments.

Head to the Lapworth Museum on 6th March to hear Annie Mahtani (composer and sound artist) and Chris Mapp (bass player, composer, improvisor) perform together, taking the listener of a journey through natural and electronic sound worlds.

Mercury Prize-nominated Fergus McCreadie is joined by Manchester Collective on 14th March for an irresistible set of music that lives somewhere between the boundaries of jazz, new classical and folk.

CrossCurrents wraps up on 17th March with Ives 150 performed by the University’s Philharmonic Orchestra, marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Ives, the great American modernist composer. The soundworld Ives creates is rich and luxurious, struck through with veins of musical influences as diverse as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and the American popular music of his time.

Jo Sweet, Head of University Music and Concerts, comments, “We couldn’t be more excited for this spring’s series of concerts. The CrossCurrents new music festival returns after a covid-enforced break and includes a mind-blowing 20 world premieres, electronic improvisation, jazz, and folk, alongside big choral and orchestral performances.”

Michael Zev Gordon, Festival Founder, adds, “I’m truly delighted that CrossCurrents has leapt into life again, more diverse and stylistically inclusive than ever. And it’s wonderful that as well as a host of concerts in the university and city centre, BBC Radio 3 will feature music from the festival on its ‘New Music Show’. Come and be amazed by the many kinds of music being made today!”

Find out more and to book, visit