In The Anatomy of the Orchestra: Drone Refractions, Charles Hazlewood and Paraorchestra turn the orchestra inside-out, charting an immersive drone odyssey via some of Minimalism’s forebears and its greatest composers.

This unique performance re-casts the orchestra as a living, breathing installation: thirty-four musicians are arrayed throughout the space as they play. The audience is invited to walk or sit amongst them, to get close to the performers and sink into a deep sonic realm as enveloping drones mix with heady lighting design to conjure a hazy, transcendent atmosphere.

An audience of several hundred people stand in the Beacon Hall – a large, darkened concert hall illuminated by dramatic blue-green spotlights positioned on the roof high above. Scattered amongst them and elevated on small risers and illuminated by white lights stand around thirty musicians wearing white stand with an array of instruments.
Three cellists sit in a row performimg.
Charles Hazlewood, a light-skinned man with white hair and a moustache conducts Victoria Oruwari, a dark-skinned woman with vivid red hair who is singing into a microphone. The pair are both wearing white and are lit up gold by a spotlight overhead.

The repertoire of Drone Refractions is arranged as a triptych. Across approximately fifty minutes, audiences will experience Straylight by ascendant composer and Paraorchestra affiliate Rylan Gleave, who draws inspiration from Minimialist precursor-prophet John Cage and his seminal work Seventy Four, a new configuration of the legendary Pauline Oliveros’ The Last Time/Ultima Vez by Charlotte Harding featuring the sublime vocals of Victoria Oruwari, and a performance of Fratres by that most holy of Minimalists, Estonian visionary Arvo Pärt.

Part-sound bath, part-ritual, part-installation, Drone Refractions compels audience members to inhabit new musical worlds, to experience the meditative magic of drone and witness these transportive sounds up close as never before.

Drone Refractions premiered at Bristol Beacon on Thursday 25 January 2024, followed by a performance at the Southbank Centre on Friday 26 January 2024.



Pauline Oliveros

The Last Time

Courtesy of The Pauline Oliveros Trust and The Ministry of Maåt

Members ASCAP (