Bringing classical music out of the concert hall and into the art world!

Following a fantastic summer of arts in Manchester, three students plan to further expand the musical and artistic landscape of the city.

For the social butterflies amongst us, summer has been wonderfully rammed with artistic excitement. Organisations like Blank Media Collective, Cornerhouse, Contact and Z-Arts – to name just a few – have held extensive festivals and programmes involving institutions large and small. Stretching across the city, they have included a number of non-traditional venues (pubs, car parks, night-clubs) and have attracted a wider audience as a result.

Autumn sees this innovation expand into the classical music world with Collectives and Curiosities. Established by Jacob Thompson-Bell, Michael Betteridge and Emma-Ruth Richards – three composers and Royal Northern College of Music students – Collectives and Curiosities aims to take classical music out of the concert hall to involve more art forms. As Jacob Thompson-Bell explains, “the concert hall is only one context in which to hear music; there’s nothing inherently wrong with it but it shouldn’t be the only setting. Surroundings do a lot to form people’s impressions of an experience; we want to present our music in as many different ways as we can.”

Following on from the success of their initial night held at the Brodsky Bar in the RNCM building, their second installment, || : figure refraction ground : || is an extensive five installation held at Blank Space, Hulme St . Running from 25 – 29 September it involves a collaboration between the musicians and a wide array of visual artists including Debbie Sharp, Joanne McClung and Hayley Andrew who will work alongside singers, a string quarter and solo wind performers.

“Musical performances last for a certain period of time, then they’re gone” explains Michael Betteridge, “with physical sculptures and photographs, the same artwork can be revisited again and again. This installation uses sound recorded throughout the event, and a whole range of visual responses from the artists and Collectives and Curiosities, to combine the two. We want to show visual arts in a context that changes over time, and music as part of a physical exhibition that remains.”

The artists and musicians have a fully interactive experience planned and all those who visit Blank Space will become a part of the installation itself. “Anyone who enters will be recorded by the numerous microphones in the building, these recordings will be then mixed down and filtered through the gallery,” explains Betteridge. “On a larger level, audiences can make active choices about their interaction with events, in terms of how much, or little, they listen to or engage with it.  Elsewhere, there will be comments bored, interactive scores and participatory events that will ensure our audience is entirely active in the production of this work.”

As Emma-Ruth Richards explains, “People that would never come to hear a contemporary piece for string quartet will likely come because they have been invited to see an art installations and visa versa.” As everyone who visits will contribute towards the final piece, the outcome is, as yet, completely unknown. For more information and to take part visit the || : figure refraction ground : || blog here:

This article first appeared in the Guardian Northerner

Today I listened to HallStealing SheepSeptember Girls and Eccentronic Research Council
Today I watched: Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett

Today I read: The Rough Guide to Paris

I took this at the fantastic Projector Series Finale by Blank Media Collective. People could build poems using spliced up lines from existing ones. The results were wonderful, and sometimes, a bit disturbingly dodgy :O)

About annelouisekershaw365

I’m Anne Louise Kershaw a freelance writer. I’m Music Editor of Blankpages and Manchester's Finest. I write, design & edit for Carel Press an educational publishers. I usually have my fingers dipped in several creative pies. I’m a feminist, occasional poet, enthusiastic taker of pictures and constant tea drinker and artist. I love music, dancing, running, mountain biking, going off in my campervan, dressing up in a totally over the top fashion and making myself dizzy. Often, all at the same time! If you know of anything interesting going on in the world of music, fashion, gender, equality or film get in touch. I can be emailed at [email protected] and am @Anne_L_Kershaw on twitter.
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