From the stark beauty of the Alaskan wilderness to the pulsating energy of New York City, the 2012 Metropolis New Music Festival is an exhilarating road-trip across the United States, driven by contemporary music’s hottest band, eighth blackbird.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Recital Centre present the most expansive and wide-ranging Metropolis Festival yet. See eighth blackbird, the MSO and the best of Australia’s new music ensembles tease out the themes and threads of American contemporary music: the environment, the city both dystopian and life-affirming, war and the yearning for peace, and the blurry boundary between high art and pop art. 

Steve Reich will be in residence for a Melbourne exclusive conversation and performances of his most important works.


Friday 27 April at 8pm
Elisabeth Murdoch Hall

eighth blackbird
Members of the MSO
Timothy Weiss conductor

We launch you on this wild ride through contemporary American orchestral music with the frenzied, chaotic journey through LA that is Michael Gordon’s Dystopia and a collection of other colourful showpieces.

Norman Unstuck
Illean Veils*
Higdon On a Wire
Kernis Musica Celestis
Gordon Dystopia

Ticket Prices
Standard $49  |  Concession $39


Sun 29 April at 6pm
Melbourne Recital Centre Salon

Circuit Duo
(Amir Farid and Leigh Harrold, pianos)

American works for piano duo in three flavours: Lowell Liebermann’s lush neo-Romanticism, a mystical ‘dance’ through the cosmos from avant-garde master George Crumb and an exuberant minimalist showpiece by John Adams.

Liebermann Three Lullabies, Op.76
Crumb Celestial Mechanics
(Makrokosmos Iv)

Adams Hallelujah Junction

Ticket Prices
Standard $35  |  Concession $25


Mon 30 April at 6pm
Melbourne Recital Centre Salon

Judith Hamann cello
James Rushford piano

Feldman’s delicate pieces explore the very nature of musical sound. Like his painter colleagues – Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko – Feldman creates abstract objects for quiet contemplation of texture, colour and harmony.

Feldman Patterns In A Chromatic Field

Ticket Prices
Standard $35  |  Concession $25


Monday 30 April at 8pm
Elisabeth Murdoch Hall

Steve Reich
eighth blackbird
Members of the MSO
Eugene Ughetti
Speak Percussion

A rare, intimate concert and conversation experience with one of America’s greatest living composer. The erudite, witty and frank Steve Reich will be joined by members of eighth blackbird for a bracing discussion as a prelude to an all-Reich concert.

Reich Clapping Music
Reich Vermont Counterpoint
Reich Different Trains
Reich Drumming – Part One

Ticket Prices
Standard $49  |  Concession $39


Tuesday 1 May at 6pm
Melbourne Recital Centre Salon

Syzygy Ensemble

The charismatic Syzygy Ensemble surveys American chamber music from the last decade by composers from Gens Y (Shepherd and Itoh) and X (Pulitzer Prize-winner Higdon). Discover today’s diversity of voices and styles, from the hard-edged to the accessible.

Shepherd Lumens
Shepherd Aperture In Shift
Itoh Parallel Divergence
Lang Sweet Air
Higdon Zaka

Ticket Prices
Standard $35  |  Concession $25


Wednesday 2 May at 8pm
Elisabeth Murdoch Hall

eighth blackbird
Members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

MSO players join the party for John Adams’ Shaker Loops, while Philip Glass’ Music in Similar Motion caps off this enthralling journey across America’s musical universe.

Hartke Meanwhile
Adams Shaker Loops
Reich Double Sextet
Glass Music in Similar Motion

Ticket Prices
Standard $49  |  Concession $39


Thur 3 May at 7pm
Melbourne Recital Centre Salon

The Consort of Melbourne
Warren Trevelyan-Jones director

Luminous American choral works by Eric Whitacre, Morten Lauridsen, Steven Stucky and Edwin Fissinger. Soaring, resonant music whose warmth appeals to the soul as much as the ear.

Ticket Prices
Standard $35  |  Concession $25


Fri 4 May at 6pm
Melbourne Recital Centre Salon

Ensemble Offspring

Music by Glass, Reich, John Luther Adams, Thierry de May and others exploring unconventional ways to make music with iPods, multitracked recordings, table-tops and blindfolded percussionists.

Ticket Prices
Standard $35  |  Concession $25


Saturday 5 May at 8pm
Elisabeth Murdoch Hall

eighth blackbird

Experience the otherworldly beauty of a vast, rolling sea at night in musical form with John Luther Adams’ Dark Waves, followed by the dawn of a vivid bright ocean vista in Reich’s epic masterpiece.

Sullivan Vidova Gora - Svitanje
Adams Dark Waves
Reich Music for 18 Musicians

Ticket Prices
Standard $49  |  Concession $39


Book a Metropolis New Music Festival package today and save more than 30% on the cost of single tickets.

4 Elisabeth Murdoch Hall concerts

Package Price   Concession
$129                 $119

All in (4 EMH & 5 Salon)

Package Price   Concession
$249                 $215

Or call 03 9929 9600.

Package holders save 10% on additional Salon concert tickets.


Corner Southbank Boulevard and Sturt St.
MelwaYs Ref 1D - S7

Visit the Melbourne Recital Centre website for full parking and public transport information.

No bookings needed


Friday 27 April at 10pm
Melbourne Recital Centre Foyer

eighth blackbird, DJs and guests

Join “super-musicians” eighth blackbird for a late-night jam session. This sextet combines the finesse of a finely-honed string quartet with the energy of a rock band in a provocative and eclectic program.



Saturday 28 April at 4:30pm
South Lawn
Melbourne University, Parkville

eighth blackbird
Members of the MSO
Speak Percussion  and Members of the Speak Percussion Emerging Artist Program

Enjoy a rare performance of John Luther Adams’ American masterwork for percussion. This epic 80-minute work refers to stone markers used by the Inuit people to orient themselves in Arctic spaces. The rhythmic layers of the piece form the shapes of these stone formations, creating a slowly shifting play of sound and space.

John Luther Adams Inuksuit for 9-99 percussionists


Sat 5 May at 5pm
Melbourne Recital Centre Foyer

eighth blackbird, musicians of ANAM and others Modern music’s puckish icon John Cage wrote instructions for an event where “you simply bring together under one roof as much music (as many musical groups and soloists) as practical under the circumstances.” We’ve done just that. Roll up, roll up!

Cage Musicircus


Sat 5 May at 10pm
Melbourne Recital Centre Foyer

Guest DJs and musicians

Join us in the foyer after the final MSO concert of the Festival as DJs hit the decks and spin beats, loops, funk and electronic. Hit the foyer bar where you can purchase a beverage or two.

eighth Blackbird

A 2012 Grammy Award-winning, Chicago-based sextet, eighth blackbird combines the finesse of a finely-honed string quartet with the energy of a rock band and the theatricality of a circus troupe. They will join Melbourne Symphony Orchestra musicians to create an exciting exploration of new American music.

Read more about eighth blackbird

Steve Reich

One of the most penetrating intellects in contemporary music, composer Steve Reich’s influence can be heard everywhere from the movie theatre to the Billboard charts to cavernous underground nightclubs. This driving force of Minimalism – one of the defining musical styles of the last 50 years – joins the Metropolis New Music Festival as an authoritative and independent voice on the state of the art.

Read more about Steve Reich

Steve Reich’s visit is made possible with the support of the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne.


“This was truly an exciting creative for us. We found that the music is strongly represented by bold colours and repetitive geometric shapes. The aim was to bring into reality what you see when you listen to the music. If we could put a type of music to our clothing then it would be exactly this – sophisticated and classical, but with an element of quirk and a dark edge. So the connection for Alpha60 and Metropolis was ideal.”

Buy Alpha60 Merchandise

From concerts partnering the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with eighth blackbird in Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, to intimate salon events featuring energetic Australian talent, and an awe-inspiring free percussion event in the great outdoors, Metropolis 2012 is epic in scale and scope.

Transaction fees may apply to some bookings.