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 philharmonie zuidnederland, 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, philharmonie zuidnederland is organising 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 approached Mahler’s music through the lens of his folk, national and melodic roots. Three ensemble-bands were 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 worked around a combination of arranged and unarranged scores of folk songs from the symphonies of Mahler. The groups then collaborated in the process of arranging the unarranged excerpts and learning the other arrangements from the score. In the end, the musicians created a set list that is entirely their own.

The ensembles then went to two local cafés in Maastricht, Café Tribunal and Café Forum, where they got 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 aimed to highlight this aspect of his music, both musically and spatially. By doing so, we aimed to shed new light to the work of Mahler and to the relevance this music can bring in a new context to new audiences.

Date Time Venue
19-20 November 2019 17:00 Café Forum, Maastricht
21 November 2019 17:00 Café Tribunal, Maastricht
23 November 2019 18:00 Café Tribunal, Maastricht

 More on this experiment (including video impression)

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 was a special concert, organised by and for the Friends of philharmonie zuidnederland. It focused 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

 More on this experiment

Online Musicking

The outbreak of COVID-19 has greatly impacted musicians and orchestras. No longer able to perform in concert halls, musicians and orchestras are trying to find ways to move their concerts online. We see musicians practicing and performing from their living rooms on our Facebook timelines. Orchestras are streaming previously recorded or live concerts.

The goal of the experiment Online Musicking is to explore what it means to perform classical music online. How to perform classical music without the rituals and routines of the concert hall? How to perform without fellow-musicians or audiences physically present? Digital media afford different options and opportunities for musicians and orchestras than concert halls. Musicologist Christopher Small introduced the concept ‘musicking’ to talk about classical music as an activity that involves not only performing and listening, but also rehearsing, practicing, and evaluating. But how to do that online?  How can musicians engage with online audiences? What is online musicianship? And how does online musicking change our understanding of the live concert?  In short: How to musick online in a meaningful way?

The journey of the 5 musicians from philharmonie zuidnederland and the researchers from MCICM has been archived on the website.

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.

Date: Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the experiment has been postponed to 2021.