Swansea University’s newest Professor tells the story of creation in new Oratorio

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Owen Sheers, who will become Professor in Creativity at Swansea University in May, is to have his oratorio with composer Mark Bowden, A Violence of Gifts, premiered in St David's Hall, Cardiff this Saturday, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Live in Concert.

Owen SheersOwen took inspiration from a visit to CERN, in Switzerland, home of the Large Hadron Collider, for a libretto to accompany Bowden’s alternative creation to Haydn's classic, paired with Holst's vivacious and powerful Planets suite which depicts the characteristics of Earth's neighbours in the solar system.

The oratorio will be performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at St David’s Hall, Cardiff at 7.30pm on Saturday 18 April.

Owen said: “Writing the libretto for A Violence of Gifts presented a unique opportunity to collaborate with Mark on a research trip to CERN which is where our ideas, informed by what we learnt and saw there, really began to take shape.

“For me the piece is as much about our human need to create stories about why and how we are here, as it is about the creation of life and matter. Haydn's oratorio drew upon Paradise Lost and the Bible, the creation stories of his time, so it seemed only right that we go to where the 21st century creation story is being written and explored every day.

“The internationalism of CERN also ended up informing the piece, with many world languages and creation myths represented in the oratorio’s opening.”

Owen will become part of the team at the University’s Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) on 1 May 2015. He brings with him an impressive portfolio of poetry and prose publications, as well as a number of significant theatrical and broadcasting achievements. Read more