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Sunday 8th June 2014 saw BCMG’s biggest world premiere to date, Crowd Out by David Lang, involving 16 non-professional choirs, led by 16 conductors, gathered together at Millennium Point, Birmingham. Crowd Out was commissioned following a conversation between BCMG’s then Artistic Director, Stephen Newbould and David Lang during the group’s visit to New York in 2008. ‘I want to write a piece for 1000 people shouting in the street’, exclaimed the American composer with not a little passion, Stephen recalls him saying before going on to bemoan the fact that nobody would commission it. BCMG did commission it and the result was an extraordinary performance directed overall by Simon Halsey, one of the world’s top choral conductors, and marshalled with imagination and flair by Stans Café theatre company.

The project and performance were part of BCMG’s commitment to involve people not just as audiences, but also as performers in the realisation of new music. David Lang, who was there for the performance, is a New York based, Pulitzer Prize winning composer. The 40 minute piece was inspired by the chanting and singing he heard at an Arsenal soccer game years ago and the text taken from a Google search of how people feel when they are in a crowd.

“…the sheer commitment and expertise of these amateurs drawn from all over the Midlands, and who had been brilliantly prepared and rehearsed top-down from the directorship of Simon Halsey” - Birmingham Post

“…thrilling moments kept sparking new life, from the arrival of the first sustained notes to those incandescent mass yells. There was also the joy of seeing community art so eloquently enthroned, involving all sorts and conditions, without need for trained voices.” – The Times

Crowd Out is commissioned by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with financial assistance from Arts Council England West Midlands and individuals through BCMG’s Sound Investment scheme; Spitalfields Music with major funding support from Arts Council England and financial assistance from its New Music Commission Fund; and the Education Programme of the Berliner Philharmoniker.