English Heritage wished to enhance the integration of Chiswick House with its grounds, and to engage the local community in a positive relationship with this important piece of heritage. We designed Orchitecture as a live event and outreach workshop to launch a new 10 year regeneration project for the villa and the grounds.
6 live NLO Musicians and 4 ghosted via CCTV, dispersed through 9 interconnecting rooms, play a series of Mozart pieces in tune with Chiswick House, a Neo-Palladian villa in the heart of London. A continuous cycle over a weekend, this was the first rendition of the Orchitecture concept, a collaboration between sound designer and artist Thor McIntyre-Burnie, architect Ayssar Arida and NLO director Julian Knight - to help English Heritage activate their landmarks.
page very much under construction
Both the Live Event and the Educational Outreach workshops offer an investigative exploration of the main themes and concept behind Orchitecure with the aim of broadening the way we can appreciate, view and utilise our architecture and music.
Like an exploded diagram of an engine, the Orchestra is dispersed across the many interconnecting rooms of a building, synchronised via radio link and CCTV feed between each other and/or the conductor, they perform a live site-specific symphony to walk within.
Walking within this live orchestra, each individual audience member navigates a sonic pathway through the symphony via a series of intimate encounters with musicians.
Developed in collaboration with Thor McIntyre-Burnie and the New London Orchestra.
Orchitecture presents a unique orchestral experience, where the audience can literally walk in and around a live symphony in action. This is much more than a symphony however. Here the concert experience becomes one of architectural exploration and spatial awareness. The orchestra is divided into varied groups of instruments, and located around different spaces within the building - the many interconnecting rooms of Chiswick House. The conductor, positioned in one room, conducts via CCTV, relayed live to each remote group of musicians. The result is a live symphony, which one can walk through and explore as one would an intriguing architectural space and visa versa.
The audience explored the workings of the orchestra from within, as it happens, without the barrier created by “stage” and “audience”.
Orchitecture proposes more involved ways of experiencing not only orchestral music, but also one’s environment, architecture and urban space in particular.
The event highlighted the importance of sound as a feature of spatial awareness and listening as a dynamic exploratory experience, governed here by intrigue and discovery.
Orchitecture, first presented at Chiswick House in September 2005, delivered multi-layered accessibility:
- to a heritage site
- to the site’s contents, its context within its own grounds, and its context in the local environment
- to classical music
- to the experience of live music
At least 1,000 people experienced Orchitecture during the Sunday afternoon of the Chiswick House Carnival.
- Orchitecture breaks the mould of a traditional concert-performance by placing the musicians around an architectural space and allowing the audience to wander at will through the space and music
- It creates an entirely new way of hearing and experiencing music
- It also creates an entirely new way of experiencing the building and its contents
- As a community and music project it is the first of its kind
- It is a unique and innovative means of bringing new audiences to heritage and music
- The event attracted new visitors into Chiswick House, through the live performance of music in a novel fashion
- A first experience of live classical music for many audience members
- The first time existing heritage/music audiences had experienced this combination of heritage and performance art
- Many families of the local primary school children involved in the Chiswick House Song attended the performance of the piece, and visited the heritage site for the first time as a result
- Orchitecture nurtures a better understanding of how music, and musical performances, are put together and structured
- Gives the audience more scope to explore the building at their own pace: music being performed encouraged people to linger and thus learn more about the building and its contents.
- The children involved in the workshops leading up to the performance learned more about the impact of a building on its environment
- The event was fun and lively, especially for children who tangibly and visibly enjoyed themselves exploring the building, the film monitors, and the music
- Adults and children were inclined to remain longer in the building than usual, due to the atmosphere created by the music
- Orchitecture brought the venue to life in a way that no other event has
- Inspired greater pride and enjoyment in those working at Chiswick House
- The musicians involved (members of the New London Orchestra) enjoyed the challenge of working in a new way, and presenting live music to a wide-ranging audience