Beatport curates DJ lineup to celebrate 200 years of London's National Gallery

On the 10th of May Beatport joined forces with the National Gallery (London) to help celebrate its 200th anniversary. Curated by Beatport’s Chief Community Officer, a diverse lineup of three London-based female DJs took the reins, alongside a host of other big names on the program including Jools Holland and other guests.

4 min
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May 24, 2024
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By
Vincent Morris

“The National Gallery is such an iconic space, and I’m not aware of many things having a 200th. This is not just about celebrating history, but also looking to the future, and I think it’s important to help institutions push past that barrier and not be scared to bring something like DJs and electronic music into the space. I do think in many ways Beatport represents the pulse of the DJ community and the future of electronic music, so it makes sense that we collaborated with such a respected institution like the National Gallery for their 200th. It’s Beatport’s 20th anniversary as well, so it’s a great thing to have different generational brands bring together past and future for this special occasion.” - Sofia Ilyas

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The gallery was alive with activity as various talks and performances took place throughout the building. Opening the proceedings in the Annenberg Court was Charisse C, who delivered a deep and soulful amapiano set and stirred a gathering crowd together.

It’s really exciting to be performing in the National Gallery, especially with the music that I play. As someone that plays African dance music, being in massive art institutions like this is really special and I think it sets a precedent for the spaces that this music can take up, and I actually really want to see more of it. I want to create art installations around the music I play, I want to be able to dress spaces and have immersive experiences, I think there’s so much room to do a lot with the creative direction of the music.” - Charisse C

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Over in the Rubens room, Hinako Omori performed an intimate ambient set inspired by the works of Vincent van Gogh. Weaving in dreamy selections of Susumu Yokota and Debussy edits, the audience was surrounded by stunning artwork and calming soundscapes.

“It’s a huge honour to play for the gallery’s 200th anniversary. I love working with themes and when preparing I thought it would be nice to choose an artist that I love and is already here, so in anticipation of their upcoming exhibition on van Gogh, I thought it would be fitting to base the DJ set on his work. For me it was about the emotions I felt when looking at his work, the colours, and the textures, as well as the themes such as nature” - Hinako Omori

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Closing out the Annenberg Court, Madam X took over with rolling breakbeats, before moving things up to more funky and upbeat selections. We knew something might be brewing when we spoke to her just before she played, “I quite like the idea of disrupting the clientele, you know what I mean? Causing a little bit of chaos in such a sophisticated environment, that’s my challenge for the set!” Clearly the vibe was infectious as all kinds of fun kicked off, including an impromptu dance-off in the crowd which was met with a lot of smiles, cheers and applause.

“When you get booked for spaces like this that have obviously existed for over 200 years, it’s kind of a little pinch me moment. With my music and what I specialise in which is club music and underground rave environments, and sweaty warehouses and festivals, when you get put into spaces like this it’s an honour, you know, it’s cool and humbling. But it also means the people at Beatport are doing their job properly! Because you guys have your ear on the ground and you know what’s up. It’s a massive privilege and honour, but also gives me a big glimmer of hope that things aren’t all being lost to TikTok, clickbait and Gen Z, it kind of shows that what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years is resonating with someone”

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At the stroke of 9pm everyone headed outside to view the light show in Trafalgar Square. Animated projection mapping illuminated the entire building, celebrating the gallery’s history and personal stories related to this iconic space. Here’s to the next 200 years!

A special thanks to the team at the National Gallery for their trust and collaboration, and all the people who helped contribute to this event.

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