Esther Swift: The Light Gatherer

One of our six Creative Collaborations for 2022

Light Gatherer is a creation of exquisite beauty. Harpist and composer Esther Swift has devised music in response to Carol Ann Duffy’s poem “The Light Gatherer” and has put together a unique ensemble of 11 top musicians – 4 harps, 2 violins, a cello, a trombone, a saxophone, a pianist and a percussionist.

The harps drive the music, creating a beat at the heart of the composition, and Esther Swift’s clear voice weaves lyrics based on the poetry through the piece on soaring, uplifting melodies. Performing on the central stage with the audience in the round, it’s a unique chance to be up close to the musicians and enjoy the uniquely immersive experience of the music. 

In the lead up to the performance, elements of the composition will be played through speakers at various points throughout the Old Royal High building, and the musicians will appear in unexpected places, playing parts of the composition, creating echoes of the music to come, introducing it to the audience and building anticipation for the late night performance. 

Expect to be mesmerised for 55 minutes by an incredible group of musicians, combining to create   a polished performance of a beautiful, uplifting piece of music. The arrangement in the round will allow audiences to get up close to the players, and not just hear, but feel the music as it folds them in to its complex arrangements. The harps will dominate the stage, and the spectacle of the four virtuoso harpists along with their 7 accompanying musicians combined with the sounds they create together will give the audience a unique kind of musical experience, at once immersive and transporting.

“mesmerising…heavenly…supreme…delicacy and sweetness”.

Jazzwise Magazine

The poet laureate’s brave, raw and intensely honest work is taken on a journey with voice, harp quartet, string trio and jazz quartet of friends. Esther’s style draws on her folk roots in Scotland and combines her love of jazz, minimalism and dance music.

For Hidden Door 2022, Esther Swift will gather together an epic 11 piece band to perform the poems Child’s Sleep, Text, Mrs Icarus, Education For Leisure, The Love Poem, Art, and The Light Gatherer.

The performance contains spooky extended techniques, wild improvisation, precise chamber music and fat beats!