Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood Taps ACO For “Water” Premiere

Andrew Parks

By Andrew Parks

on 07.31.14 in News

The Australian Chamber Orchestra has announced a few UK performances featuring the worldwide premiere of “Water,” a new piece from Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. Set to happen on October 2 in Dublin, October 4 in London, and October 5 in Birmingham, the programs will also include more traditional movements by Haydn, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. An evening back home in Melbourne is also planned on October 26.

“I loved every second of being around these players,” Greenwood explained in a press release (via Pitchfork) about the work’s blend of strings, piano and a South Asian instrument called the tambura. “They were enthusiastic, patient, energetic and enormously musical. Just overhearing them rehearse a Shostakovich string quartet really floored me: nothing beats being in a small room with a bunch of players like this. And they really do go surfing afterwards!”

The guitarist/composer added that he wrote and rehearsed about twice as much as what ended up on the final piece, an editing exercise he found “very inspiring.”

“I believe he’s the first celebrated pop musician who has been able to straddle the world of classical music,” added ACO’s artistic director, Richard Tognetti. “In terms of the cross-fertilization of ideas, it’s a great time to be a musician.”

Here’s a video of Greenwood and the ACO performing Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint” last year…