Dark Angels


Year 2017
Commissioned by The National Arts Centre Orchestra (ENCOUNT3RS Project)
Choreography Guillaume Côté
Dance Company National Ballet of Canada
Music Kevin Lau
Orchestration 2*22*1+cbsn/ perc/strings
Duration 27 minutes

Audio Excerpts (MP3)


  • April 20-22, 2017 - National Arts Centre Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Shelley. National Arts Centre, Ottawa
  • June 16-22, 2018 - National Ballet of Canada, conducted by David Briskin. Four Seasons Centre, Toronto


  • "Kevin Lau’s score exploits the orchestra’s virtuosity as thoroughly as the choreography challenges the dancers. Lau gives subtle nods to Stravinsky — those pounding Sacre chords, the exotic woodwind solos — but also to Rachmaninoff, Strauss’ Salomé even Samson et Dalila. At the same time, the music is elevated beyond mere pastiche by Lau’s astonishing mastery of form and development. It’s an extraordinarily accomplished, expressive, complex and polished piece of writing." - Natasha Gauthier, Artsfile

  • "To round out the program, the National Ballet of Canada presented Dark Angels, choreographed by Côté to a riveting score by Lau... The intensity built, the movements became grander in scope and the music got more dramatic, with everything from a stark solo cello and delicate flutes to jack-hammering percussion and church bells. Along the way, there was jealousy, whimsy and other emotional distractions, all leading to a jaw-droppingly physical climax." - Lynn Saxberg, Ottawa Citizen

  • "Lau’s score is dark and affecting, with lots of dramatic brass." - Martha Schabas, The Globe and Mail

  • "The great presence of this production is the magnificently explosive music of Kevin Lau, with the percussion and strings all intertwined in a most exciting composition. Lau’s music (National Ballet of Canada) was, to my mind the most exciting of the evening..." Alvina Ruprecht, Capital Critics' Circle

    "The lower strings and woodwinds interact with the booming percussion to weave a piece that is tense and stormy, accompanying the dark mood of the dance." Lisa Xu, Apartment 613

    "La partition épique de Kevin Lau rehaussait la solennité de chaque mouvement...ou peut-être est-ce l'inverse." Maud Cucchi, Le Droit


  • "Encount3rs with ballet: Kevin Lau steps up to the stage" - Artsfile

  • "Encount3rs in the dark: Guillaume Côte finds some better angels" - Artsfile

  • "A Landmark Triple Bill" - The Globe and Mail

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