Longplayer Live

Original schematic drawing, 2009
[Sam Collins]

From the outset, Longplayer was a project designed to seek out its own survival strategies. Over the last few years this effort has been focussed on the development of Longplayer Live, a long-durational live performance for 6 – 12 players. Representing a unique fragment from an enormous continuum, each live performance is calculated to synchronize precisely with Longplayer’s 1000-year score.

Longplayer Live is performed on a giant orchestral instrument comprised of 234 Singing Bowls, arranged in six concentric rings. The largest of these rings measures 20 metres (66 ft) in diameter, forming the outer edge of a vast musical installation.

Installation view, the Roundhouse, 2009

The instrument and performance are based on Jem Finer’s graphical score of 2002. Accordingly, Longplayer’s six parallel transpositions are configured as a nested arrangement of ring-shaped tables, atop which sit the enormous array of tuned bells required to produce every sound in Longplayer’s 1000-year span. (A more detailed explanation of how the performance works is in Finer’s Composer’s Note of 2009.)

Longplayer Live’s inaugural performance took place over 1000 minutes (16 hours 40 minutes) on September 12th – 13th, 2009. A second performance of 3 hours’ length rang in the New Year at the Lighthouse on December 31st 2009.


The Longplayer Live instrument is still under construction, with new sections being completed as they are needed for individual performances. In order to fund the continuing work on the instrument and the production of future live events, The Longplayer Trust is inviting donations on a bowl-by-bowl basis. When you fund a bowl, it is engraved with a word of your choice.

Once the 234-bowl instrument is completed, our long term ambition is to secure a permanent location for it, where Longplayer can play on into the foreseeable and unforeseeable future.

Dozens of supporters have already put their marks on the Longplayer bowls, with the 1st circle now completely sold out. Every bowl bought is a piece of the future.

6th Circle: Contrabass
5th Circle: Bass
4th Circle: Baritone
3rd Circle: Tenor
2nd Circle: Alto
1st Circle: Soprano

After making your donation through paypal or bank transfer you will receive a receipt and confirmation. You may choose your inscription now or at a later date. Longplayer is a charitable trust, Registered Charity no. 108 7243.

paypal payment options

If you don’t wish to buy a bowl but are still interested in supporting Longplayer, please consider making a donation via our Paypal account or bank transfer.


The Roundhouse, London, 12 – 13 September 2009

Birds eye view, The Roundhouse, September 2009
[Jem Finer]

Jem Finer’s Longplayer is famously the longest non-repeating piece of music ever composed. It has been playing continuously since the first moments of the millennium, performed by computers around the world.

On September 12th, 2009, Longplayer took a giant step forward with its first-ever live performance, at the Roundhouse, London. This historic 17-hour event spanned 1000 minutes of Longplayer’s 1000-year duration, from 08:00 on the morning of the 12th until 00:40 on the morning of the 13th.

For this extraordinary stretch of time, Longplayer’s fluid, sonorous tones rang out under the Roundhouse’s steel and glass canopy, with the uniformed players performing in 30- and 60-minute shifts, working from the demanding, continuous score with clockwork precision. Audiences drifted around the perimeter of the room, with most listeners staying for hours at a time and many leaving the venue to return for later shifts.

More than 7 years in planning, the debut of Longplayer Live introduced the spectacular, partially-completed Longplayer instrument, played by a 26-strong all-star orchestra of musicians and artists.

Player and conductor, The Roundhouse, September 2009

Longplayer Musicians:
Douglas Benford • Steve Beresford • Gina Birch • John Bisset • Ansuman Biswas • Jack Brennan • Tom Chant • Peter Cusak • Rhodri Davis • Benedict Drew • Jem Finer • Iris Garrelfs • Darryl Hunt • Ivor Kallin • Andrew Kötting • J Maizlish Mole • Kaffe Matthews • Graeme Miller • Hayley Newman • Michael Ormiston • Spider Stacy • Emma Stow • David Toop • Candida Valentino • Laura Williams [ READ MORE ]

In conjunction with the live performance, the Artangel Longplayer 2009 Conversation – an epic relay of one-to-one conversations inspired by the philosophical and practical implications of ‘long time’ and long-term thinking – took place in the Roundhouse’s Studio Theatre. Opened and closed by writer Jeanette Winterson, this 12-hour marathon included 20 leading writers, filmmakers, scientists, academics and technology activists.

Long Conversationalists:
Rachel Armstrong • Charles Arsène-Henry • Cory Doctorow • Marcus du Sautoy • Sophie Fiennes • Daniel Glaser • Bonnie Greer • Mark Haddon • Lisa Jardine • Andrew Kötting • Mark Lythgoe • Mark Miodownik • Susie Orbach • Ruth Padel • Robert Peston • Steven Rose • David Toop • Vincent Walsh • Jeanette Winterson • Lewis Wolpert [ READ MORE ]

After nightfall, the Roundhouse, 12 September 2009

View Finer’s 1000-second time-lapse video, Links to reviews and further documentation of the event can be found on the news page.

Full credits for the Longplayer Live event, including biographies of the musicians, can be found on the Roundhouse 2009 Credits page. Recordings of the Long Conversation and biographies of the speakers can be found on the The Artangel Longplayer Conversations page.


The Lighthouse, London, 31 December 2009

Lonpglayer Live at the Lighthouse, New Year’s Eve 2009

The second Longplayer Live performance took place at Longplayer’s 10th annual New Year’s Eve event at the Lighthouse, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London.

Marking the first complete decade of Longplayer’s 1000-year duration, the performance lasted 3 hours from 12 midday to 3 p.m. GMT (i.e. 00:00 – 03:00 IDLE, the first three hours of the new year at the International Date Line).

Installed in the ground-level Chain Store under the Lighthouse, Longplayer’s rings were realigned in a simplified, semi-circular configuration along chalked track-lines.


Lonpglayer Live at YBCA, San Francisco, 16 October 2010

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 16 October 2010

The third Longplayer Live performance, together with a Long Conversation (at the C.M.J.), took place in San Francisco on October the 16th, 2010, presented by the Long Now Foundation. Participants are listed here.

The conversations can be watched and listened to here.


Possible further performances of Longplayer Live are presently under discussion or being planned, including venues in the following locations:

• Bruges, 2025

• London, 2025

• London, 2025 (for Voices)

Please see the news page for up-to-date information.