A quartet is like a game of chess; simple in its make up and infinite in its possibility. So how can new technologies be used to augment performance of and engagement with chamber music? Our unique two-day musical hack, which puts an award-winning string quartet at the heart of its investigation, seeks to find out.

From 30 - 31 July, Hack the Quartet will bring together 20 talented and curious participants to collaborate with the Sacconi Quartet to make a range of technology-driven explorations of the chamber music world. Questions we might seek to answer include:

‘How can we use sensors, cameras, projectors and other technologies to help the audience to listen more actively?’

‘How can we give an audience an idea of what it is like to be the performer of a piece?’

‘How can we meaningfully represent how a quartet collaborates and communicates whilst performing?’

‘How might we integrate technologies without them being distracting to the audience or damaging to the instruments?’

Of course we don’t yet know what the Hack Day will produce, but ideas could range from projected heat maps of the quartet and their instruments to understand their physical reactions to performing, using binaural microphones to create an immersive aural experience or capturing and visualising the vibrations of the instruments.

The hack will last two days, ending in a showcase event at lunchtime on Friday 2 August, where audiences will hopefully get to see and hear some of the work created. Additionally as this year’s Proms is the first of a three-year programme, we hope the hack will generate and prototype ideas that could be commissioned as part of the programme for next year.

Hack The Quartet is produced by Watershed, in association with The Sacconi Quartet, Bristol Old Vic and Universal Music Arts and Entertainment as part of Bristol Proms. The Media Partner is ClassicFM. It is supported by Arts Council England.


Following the hack we produced a short film to give a flavour of what went on:

Film by Benjie Croce

Project blog