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Bristol Proms: Getting closer to classical thanks to digital technology

Posted on Thu 13 Jun 2013
Jan Lisiecki: From Every Angle at Watershed on Mon 29 July at 19:30 Image: © Mat

Bristol Proms at Bristol Old Vic

Mon 29 July - Sat 3 Aug

Digital technologies are increasingly used to distribute to and engage people with classical music: Touch Press' massively popular Orchestra app is an exploration of orchestral music with oodles of interactivity, and Glyndebourne has been streaming live opera to worldwide audiences, for free, for years. But how can we use new technologies to bring audiences closer to classical performance? How can we let the audience feel the music in new ways?

To answer these questions and recover the interactive spontaneity classical music has historically enjoyed Watershed has joined up with Bristol Old Vic and Universal Music Arts and Entertainment to launch #BristolProms, a festival that will use digital technology to bend music into fantastical new shapes.

Since its opening in 1766, Bristol Old Vic has been both a playhouse and a concert hall and hosted hugely popular concerts in the theatre in the 1840s featuring performers such as Paganini. Now, in 2013, the famous theatre is once again hosting a range of world-class musicians and we are going to enhance their performances with a bit of twenty-first century magic.

Clare Reddington, director of iShed and the Pervasive Media Studio, said:

"From a classical music hack day to a recital that is captured by many tiny cameras, Watershed has worked closely with our partners to curate a series of digital additions to the #BristolProms programme that will bring performers and audiences closer together by exploring bio data, game worlds, projections and much more. The festival is informal and interactive, accessible yet dramatic, and I can't wait to see how audiences respond."

Details of the #BristolProms events with digital augmentations curated by Watershed are listed below. In addition to the programme listed here you can also get involved in our Hack The Quartet project with the award-winning Sacconi Quartet and book tickets for all the brilliant events happening as part of #BristolProms here.

Jan Lisiecki: From Every Angle / Mon 29 July 19:30, Watershed

18-year-old concert pianist Jan Lisiecki is one of the world's greatest piano players whose renditions of Mozart and Chopin have earned the Canada-born wunderkind legions of fans and armfuls of awards around the world. Capturing the rhythmic vibrations on Jan's glass of water to the frenetic movement of his hands, From Every Angle, directed by John Durrant, filmmaker and director from Bristol-based design agency BDH, is an intimate interpretation of a simultaneous live performance at Bristol Old Vic, using multiple close-up cameras and digital technology to bring you closer than ever before to an extraordinary solo piano performance of selections from Chopin's groundbreaking Études.

Read more and book tickets here.

Max Richter: The Four Seasons Recomposed / Performed by Daniel Hope and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Wed 31 July, Bristol Old Vic Theatre 7.30pm, £5-£30

Imagine an orchestra playing before a massive projected animated universe, a universe that will expand and react when instruments are played: characters are triggered, worlds are entered, places explored. Well, imagine no more: multidisciplinary design studio Play Nicely will take you further than ever before inside the themes, characters and movements of the Four Seasons as virtuoso violinist Daniel Hope and the mighty Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra breathe warm swathes of new life into Max Richter's take on Vivalid's timeless Four Seasons.

Book tickets here.

Play Niceley

Nicola Benedetti: Vibrations / Fri 2 Aug, Bristol Old Vic Theatre 7.30pm

What happens to the atmosphere around a performer when they play? How much energy does playing the violin create? Inspired by Paganini's legendary concert at Bristol Old Vic in 1831, the prodigiously talented Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti MBE plays a special #BristolProms set, combining solo pieces with the exquisite emotion of Tchaikovsky's great trio. Nicola will be accompanied by danceroom Spectroscopy's award-winning visualisations that fuse 3D imagery with real quantum mechanics to stunningly represent how Nicola's own energy interacts with the hidden atomic world.

Book tickets here.

Hack The Quartet: Showcase, Fri 2 Aug, 1 - 2pm, Bristol Old Vic Studio, Free

For one week only the Pervasive Media Studio lunchtime talk is going on tour to #bristolproms to see the results of our chamber music hack. A quartet is like a game of chess; simple in its make up and infinite in its possibility. Can new technologies be used to open up and enhance chamber music, and make the audience feel like part of the quartet? During Bristol Proms, the award-winning Sacconi Quartet will work intensively with artists, technologists and producers to explore these questions. This lunchtime talk will be the chance for audiences to hear about the hack, peer behind the process and play with the demos produced.

#BristolProms is presented by Bristol Old Vic, Universal Music Arts and Entertainment and Watershed.