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Olivier Messiaen’s piano masterpiece Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jesus, written in occupied Paris of 1944, offers twenty meditations centred around the birth of Christ. As part of a year-long project exploring this powerful music, Cordelia Williams has commissioned a poetic response from award- winning poet Michael Symmons Roberts, exploring themes of occupation and liberation, hope and despair. Tonight’s performance interweaves a selection of the most reverent and dazzling of the Vingt Regards with readings of the poetry.

Cordelia Williams has been acclaimed as a pianist of “great power and sensitivity”, drawing in audiences with her rich sound, natural eloquence and “spell-binding simplicity”. She has performed all over the world including concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra, in Mexico City, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and recitals at Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Beijing Concert Hall. In December 2014 she made her debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto at Barbican Hall, London and Symphony Hall, Birmingham.