The name of the project is NewOrch. Our mission is to bring the concert experience into the 21st century. We are a symphony orchestra of young musicians that are coming together with an open mind to solve the problems of the concert experience.
The premise of our work is that, there’s nothing wrong with classical music, better yet, it is some of the most sophisticated pieces of art made by mankind. Therefore, our mission is to trim off all the outdated traditions that serve no purpose in the concert, and add some that do.
Here are a few questions:
Why don’t we clap between movements? Why is the orchestra dressed the way it is? Why does a concert have 2 halves of 40 minutes? Why don’t we use amplification? Why does the orchestra sit the way it sits?
Some of these questions have more straightforward answers then others, but let me ask you this;
Why is it that the art forms who are the most unsophisticated, accessible, simple are the ones that obsess the most around all the details in the performance?
Are we too good to answers these questions? Will art speak for itself?
Well, allow me to make an analogy. Let’s say you’ve been privileged enough to travel back in time and listen to Aristotle himself talk about his ideas. Surely, that is a time well spent. Imagine all the things you would learn, the stories you would tell back home. Now imagine that someone is sitting behind you while you listen and they’re shouting in your ear relentlessly. Too strong? How about if they were biting their nails audibly. What if the man in front of you had a bright yellow toga on with a very visibly stain of ketchup. How’s your attention doing? You see, while we have perfected every aspect of performance of the Beethoven’s 3rd, we haven’t stopped to ask ourselves, “Is anybody even paying attention?”.
There’s hardly any need in inventing new attention-span-stretching techniques, most of them have been perfected in every other art form, whether it’s lighting, tight show timeline, warm-up show etc.
There are though still a few things that we can specialize, in addition the above mentioned practices. Community building. The way we listen to anything also heavily relies on our surroundings. If we feel threatened by the evil forces of the all-knowing-all-hearing classical listener, that comes to concert only to judge you when you clap too early after the piece, or heavens forbid, between the movement, we hear the same performance in a completely different way, and it’s not a change for he best. Therefore, building a community around the orchestra, where people know each other and enjoy seeing each other at the concert, and having a drink after the concert. Who knows maybe they’ll even dance after a few beers (we have an afterparty after the concert, you know) is a great way to promote meaningful listening.
All this to say, we are meeting the audience where they are, and by they, I mean the 99% that hasn’t been trained from a young age to listen to classical music in spite of the concert experience, and we treat the 99% to good, organic, locally grown, not tested on animals, composer-to-ear music that will delight them for many years to come.
Brahms 4 doesn’t need our help, we need it.