Tuning the Concert

Gold Arts Award Portfolio

Late Night Prom looks outside the ‘closed classical box’ August 27, 2010

Filed under: 1C: Reviews — concerttuning @ 10:03 am
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Last night I went to the coolest Prom yet! Jamie Cullum with his four piece band joined the Heritage orchestra for what turned out to be cross between a civilised concert and hot and steamy jig.  

The audience was predominantly composed of 20-35 somethings (especially in the packed promming arena) but I was impressed by the number of ‘oldies’ who braved the concert. While the Proms aims to introduce newcomers to classical music, last night I think it actually introduced many to jazz. Due to my sheltered ways, I’ve certainly never been to anything like this and it was eye opening to see of the mixing board on stage and the staged drama, which included two fishermen at the start of the set. Not only did Jamie draw in a predominantly younger audience, but he pulled in a packed auditorium (which can’t be said for all the late night proms).

However, the audience’s classical background was evident in the polite twitters in response to Jamie Cullum’s performance antics. It must have been a bit of a shock to some to see so much exuberance on stage. Jamie frequently got up to dance at the front, stood on the piano and even did a flying run across the stage. Towards the end Jamie had charmed the audience and had everyone clapping and singing along, the arena had turned into a jumping pit and people were even dancing in the boxes!   



Rush Hour Concert with Southbank Sinfonia July 9, 2010

Filed under: 1C: Reviews — concerttuning @ 12:10 pm
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Last night, on Thursday 7 July, I attended a Rush Hour concert by the Southbank Sinfonia at St John’s Waterloo.  They are Britain’s orchestra of young professionals and form the country’s leading orchestral academy.

Though in essence it was a conventional concert, they have done a few things to alter the way the concert is presented.

  • Catchy title – the series is called Rush Hour concerts which has a certain ring about it.
  • Early start – starting at 6pm it is meant to suit those on the way back from work. Additionally, it probably appeals to the elderly who do not like to be out late in the evenings.
  • Short programme – lasted 75 mins which is a more manageable chunk of time to sit and listen with full concentration. Though it eliminates the social aspect of the interval, this is suited to single attendees coming from the office.
  • Free drinks – a pleasant surprise especially on a hot day. Creates a relaxed atmosphere and an occupation before the music starts.
  • Introductions – either musicians or the conductor introduced each piece. While most of the information was traditional (historical context or brief analysis of the music), the young musicians used an informal tone and made a few jokes.  

Though they did not revolutionise the concert experience on this occasion, they have certainly considered ways in which to make their concerts more attractive to concert attendees.