Music without borders

New generational cohorts are pushing classical music to unexpected places

Like Banksy who singlehandedly turned street art into a collector’s item, new generational cohorts are making fresh demands of classical music, pushing the art form beyond the concert hall. Gen Y’s and Gen X’s are finding their own ways of enjoying classical music, and they’re doing it on new terms, as music institutions across the world defy traditional boundaries with innovative offerings.

From London and Austin, to Melbourne and Sydney, orchestral music is being shaken and stirred. Wherever you look, there’s a strong sense that sound needs to move with us (think Beatport, Spotify and Soundcloud). Music flows from our mobiles and teeny, tiny devices. Mobile technologies are everything to modern music lovers, adding to this greater sense that music needs to be malleable, not uptight.

Brahms can come with us on our morning jog. Erik Satie can accompany our ponderings on the evening commute. Classical music is available as streamed radio stations and automated algorithms of Pandora make trying out new composers more possible.

Music is having a moment. And even purist classical folks are starting to admit music is only one part of a multi-sensory world.

At home, the Australian Chamber Orchestra experimented with presenting their performers with singer Katie Noonan and artist Bill Henson back in 2009. Now Sydney Symphony Orchestra Vanguard is utilising über creative venue choices and cocktails to ensure their young fans are frothing.

As part of the new guard, new style classical events have come to include inspired warehouse décor; art installations, light projections and screens. Classical repertoire will be back-dropped by nature, natural amphitheatres, fresh fields, paintings, frescoes, live theatre performance and culinary delights.

As the founder of the outdoor classical event Play the Field, Charles Hazelwood told the Telegraph in the UK, music should be nourishing. “What composers express, and what I tune in to, is the raw material of life as captured in a score: the passion, the grief, the highs, the sheer brain food,” says Hazelwood. “This is what makes listening and playing so deeply satisfying. It’s also why I’m determined to bust classical music into spaces where anyone and everyone can go”.

Art, like nature is the other key ingredient. Static and video art collections can be mixed in to the classical music cocktail with minimum disturbance and maximum effect.

Showing bravery and foresight, SSO Vanguard has chosen BresicWhitney’s Darlinghurst office, a place filled with contemporary art for their next concert. Large pieces by Ben Quilty, David Noonan, Lillian O’Neil and Conrad Ventur line the warehouse style offices, making it the perfect place to present Vanguard’s musicians.

On Thursday 14 May, 150 Vanguard members will attend the pop up performance while sipping cocktails. It’s a continuation of recent ‘away’ performances by Vanguard with some of the last ones given to members at Carriageworks in Redfern and Mortuary Station in Chippendale.

Head to sydneysymphony.com to sign up to Vanguard and see classical music where you’d least expect!

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