Tuning the Concert

Gold Arts Award Portfolio

The Orchestra of the future? October 27, 2010

Filed under: 1B: research,1D: issues — concerttuning @ 1:18 pm
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Southbank Sinfonia is unique in that they are the only full-time, independent Orchestral Academy currently in existence, but it is their open-mindedness that really bowled me over when I met their Chief Executive, Justin Lee.

They are actively paving the way into the future. Not only are they prepared to re-evaluate the role of the orchestra in the 21st century, but they are equipping their players with the ability to survive the modern music market. Justin Lee explained that their aim is not only to generate creative people who are passionate about music, but crucially to develop musicians with the means to communicate this. Consequently, they are trained in public speaking and are expected to talk to the audience at concerts.

The organisation is not tied to the rigidity or risk of a concert series. This gives them the flexibility to explore alternative avenues and take artistic risks, ensuring that there is still a role for the orchestral musician in 20 years time. Prepared to look beyond the autonomy of classical music, Justin Lee relishes the opportunity to collaborate in cross-art performances. This comes from his passion to reveal connections. Classical music is not chronological or closed to the world, though many a conventional concert typically portrays it as such.  Instead, through his programming he hopes to weave musical connections across time or use other art forms to shed light on the music. If they had a niche it’s their use of movement. For example, the musical mirroring in a Bach Canon was demonstrated in concert by two players physically imitating the direction of their musical subjects.



Amateur orchestras’ audience development puts some professionals to shame July 17, 2010

Filed under: 1C: Reviews — concerttuning @ 7:46 pm
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I went to a concert on Sunday 11 July by Philharmonia Britannica, which I heard about through a forwarded email. The concert involved a comedian and as their website explains this is part of a plight to develop audiences. I thought this was very innovative of an amateur orchestra to be thinking that much about their audience. It gives me hope that even smaller scale ensembles with minimal budgets can do things to make concerts accessible to a wide audience.


Different Audiences

PB is starting to explore partnerships with other art forms. Amongst other things we hope that this will appeal to the many music lovers who wouldn’t normally attend a classical concert. We also have plans to work in the field of education and to promote new compositions. Please visit the relevant links below for further details.

Overall, we want to bring the great music of the classical repertoire to as large and diverse an audience as possible.

Exploring New Syntheses

  • We aim to explore the exciting possibilities of combining a classical orchestra with different art forms. Not only could this create fascinating new insights in and of itself, but it may also appeal to those not normally likely to attend a ‘standard’ classical concert.



The Journey so far: form and communicate a view July 6, 2010

I’ve been mainly researching the current state of the music scene in London. See research from Unit 1C.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many alternative and innovative events are being organised in and around London. It has been hard trying to fit them all into my diary, as especially the family concerts seem to be on the same date. Being in London also has increased the number of free events that I can attend.

I personally was not aware of some of these new innovative events before I started searching. Some of the schemes are relatively new while others have been running for years. However, if you were not looking to attend a classical concert you would probably not hear about these events, as they do seem to appeal to a specialist audience (though a more youthful one).

While people are re-assessing the way classical music is presented it will take a lot longer for the negative perceptions of classical music to change. It will never be the norm to go to a concert on a Friday evening, but perhaps the challenge is to make the concert something every Tom, Dick and Harry would consider attending once in a while.