Get ready for the Urban Symphony

Posted on May 16, 2010

Manchester Camerata is excited to announce that as part of our newly announced 2010/11 season, we plan to deliver an exciting series of learning and participation projects, ultimately leading to the creation of a “Manchester Symphony.”

Following on from the highly successful Songbook of the Earth project, we’ll be offering a series of residencies in schools, working with a visual artist, a composer, architect and musicians from Camerata, to create a visual and musical response to the bricks and mortar of this proud city, reflecting the orchestra’s theme for the season – Urban Symphonies.

Camerata will again be working with The Bridgewater Hall, and Ian Simpson Architects to create a new work inspired by the buildings all around us.  Goethe saw architecture as frozen music. This project aims to unlock the hidden stories in the chosen buildings, thawing and liberating each building’s internal musical score.

Each project (or movement) will focus on a different building in Manchester related in some way to our season concerts.  Each piece will be premiered as part of selected concerts in the Camerata season.  At the end of the project, all the movements will be drawn together to create a final Manchester Symphony.

We hope to involve 120 children across Greater Manchester, giving them the opportunity to experience the thrill of working and performing as equals alongside the professional musicians of Manchester Camerata.

The main architectural/musical themes chosen for the project are: Classicism/Neo-Classicism, The Baroque, Modernism, Contemporary and Dreams.

The Classicism/Neo-classicism movement will be presented on 23 October 2010 before Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony.  It’ll focus on the “order and balance” of classicism, and how it influences the structure of music and art. But also the subversion of this as demonstrated by the “tongue in cheek” approach of Prokofiev.

The Baroque element will precede the concert of Italian Baroque on 19 and 26 February 2011, and explore the trademark flow and embellishment of the style.

Modernism is being represented – in musical terms at least – by the Second Viennese School on 26 March 2011, and will deal with experimentation with form and function, and new musical techniques.

The Contemporary breaks through on 30 April 2011, when the orchestra will play the works of Adams and rising star Nico Muhly. Here we find minimalism, and how the smallest kernel of an idea can be expanded into a magnificent final piece of art or architecture.

The final section is Dreams – musically expressed by Mendelsson’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on 28 May 2011.  This final movement of Urban Symphony, we will unlock the score of Manchester’s iconic Bridgewater Hall. Inspired by and using elements of Shakespeare’s text and Mendelssohn’s music, community groups across the city will be able to explore the unique architecture of the Hall, creating music and art specific to different areas of the building.

The final performance will take the form of an afternoon of “promenade-style” celebratory events in the Hall itself, bringing its interior to life through music and art, celebrating the progression  from the drawing board `dream’ to the actuality of a world-class venue.

An exciting project indeed, which will unfold throughout the year, reaching out to communities across Greater Manchester, becoming intertwined with the musical offering of Manchester Camerata’s new season.

We hope you’ll travel with us for this exciting musical journey through the architecture of Manchester, and the Cities of the World.

To find out more about Manchester Camerata’s 2010/11 Season click here

For more about the 2009/20 season project Songbook of the Earth, click here