Press Release

Leading Artists help to launch Tate Modern

On the morning of 11 May 2000, Her Majesty The Queen will officially open Tate Modern at Bankside. The Queen will arrive to a fanfare specially commissioned from one of Britain’s greatest living composers, Sir Harrison Birtwistle. Seventeen Tate Riffs will be performed by the London Sinfonietta which is based nearby. The official opening will be broadcast live on BBC1 from 11.00 to 11.30.

The opening reception in the evening will include performances by the internationally acclaimed choreographer William Forsythe and his company Ballett Frankfurt. The performances are fragments selected from his new production The Questioning of Robert Scott (the great Antarctic explorer) which has never been presented in Britain. It will be performed by members of Ballett Frankfurt three times during the evening.

During the party, guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy Acid Brass, a work by Jeremy Deller which will be performed by the Williams Fairey Band. Conceived by the artist in 1995, Acid Brass is a selection of acid house anthems transposed for a brass band. The Williams Fairey Band is a past winner of the BBC’s Best of Brass and was European Champion in 1994.

The evening celebrations will continue outside with a unique light display on the exterior of the building created by Imagination. State of the art light and laser technology will highlight key architectural features on the riverside façade of the building, beginning at dusk and developing into the full illumination of the building at 22.45. The display will reach a grand finale with the switching-on of a permanent light feature at the top of the chimney. Designed by the architects Herzog & de Meuron, in collaboration with the artist Michael Craig-Martin, the beacon will signal the opening of Tate Modern. Southwark Bridge will be closed to traffic from 21.00 until midnight on the evening of 11 May to accommodate public wishing to view the light display.

The opening party will be broadcast live on BBC2 from 19.30 - 20.30 and on BBC1 from 22.30-23.00.

Leading artist Howard Hodgkin is collaborating with poet James Fenton on a special poster poem to celebrate the opening of the gallery. This will be on sale in the gallery shops during the opening period.