MCICM Experiments

During a conventional classical concert everyone has a clear task. The musicians play under the direction of the conductor on the stage of a concert hall, the audience in the hall listens attentively, preferably without coughing and clapping at the wrong moments. This division of roles originated in the nineteenth century and still works well for those who want to enjoy a traditional concert. In recent years, many orchestras, including the South Netherlands Philharmonic, have also been looking for alternatives to the concert ritual. For example, to appeal to young people or to involve concert visitors in new ways in their concerts.

How can the public participate more actively in programming, performing and evaluating the concerts? To answer that question, the South Netherlands Philharmonic is organizing four experimental concert events during the season 2019-2020, together with students of the Conservatory Maastricht and researchers from the MCICM. During the experiments we will try out how classical music can work in situations other than the concert hall.

Mahler am Tisch

This experiment approaches Mahler’s music through the lens of his folk, national and melodic roots. Three ensemble-bands are created from musicians with various backgrounds to explore three different aspects of Mahler: a klezmer band, a brass band, and a string quartet.

Each group will work around a combination of arranged and unarranged scores of folk songs from the symphonies of Mahler. The groups then collaborate in the process of arranging the unarranged excerpts and learning the other arrangements from the score. In the end, the musicians will create a set list that is entirely their own.

The ensembles then go to two local cafés in Maastricht, Café Tribunal and Café Forum, where they get to know the locals and their audience by performing “am Tisch” - around a table. This approach to Mahler retains and yet explores the characteristics of his music through highlighting the folk-origins of his work. Mahler was inspired by folk music and by the village songs and dances that surrounded him. This project aims to highlight this aspect of his music, both musically and spatially. By doing so, we aim to shed new light to the work of Mahler and to the relevance this music can bring in a new context to new audiences.

Dates: 19-20 November 2019 at Café Forum, Maastricht, and 21, 23 November 2019 at Café Tribunal, Maastricht.

Click Claque: how to share meanings of classical music?

How can we talk about what makes a concert ‘good’? Audiences often feel insecure when talking about the quality of classical music concerts. While we quickly evaluate other art forms, such as film, after a concert we often find ourselves hesitant to speak out, as we don’t consider ourselves “experts”. However, classical music can matter in many different ways. This experiment aims to open up the ways we can meaningfully talk about the quality of classical music – both offline and online. In the concert hall, audiences (and musicians) are invited after the concert to share their experiences at a giant table. Online, audiences are invited to share their thoughts and opinions on specific concerts with other audience members, and to rank their favourite concerts of the season.

Dates: throughout season 2019-2020

The People’s Salon

The People’s Salon is a special concert, organised by and for the Friends of the South Netherlands Philharmonic. It focuses on collecting stories and memories that the Friends  share through interviews, where each individual draws a picture of how a particular piece of music is valuable for them in their lives. This sense of value is then worked upon and discussed together in a group, in order to come up with a repertoire for the evening, based on around shared personal stories, themes or issues. Through music, discussion, and a particular design, audiences undergo an immersive promenade experience.

Date: 25 January 2020

Location: AINSI, Lage Kanaaldijk 112-113, 6212 NA Maastricht

Sounding Northwest

The Sounding Northwest experiment is about making classical music matter in different ways, in this case by taking a social issue as starting point for the collaboration between musicians and the inhabitants of a neighbourhood in Northwest Maastricht. Phzn musicians talk to residents of this neighborhood and listen to their stories. How can they resonate in classical music? The experiments challenges the conventional relevance and value of classical music by starting from societal issues and by giving the audience a role in the artistic process of composing and organising a musical event that give voice to their views or concerns.

Dates: April 2020

Location: Northwest neighbourhood, Maastricht

The Open Orchestra

The province of Limburg is well-known for its brass bands, or in Dutch ‘harmonie fanfare orkesten’ (HaFa). In the past, philharmonie zuidnederland has often collaborated with these local brass bands. The starting point of this experiment is question within the orchestra how routine ways of collaborating with these orchestras can be revitalised.

A Maastricht based HaFa orchestra will join a collaboration group, together with musicians from philharmonie zuidnederland. The group will regularly meet to decide on the programme, repertoire, venue, location, and ways of rehearsing of their joint concert in June 2020. The Artful Particpation researchers will act as facilitators of these collaborative moments, asking critical questions, proposing alternative ways of designing the concert event, questioning common assumptions, and tacit and routine ways of doing of both the HaFA and symphonic worlds.

Dates: June 2020

Location: to be announced