Orchestra. Circa now.

Conductor/composer Paul Haas sent this as a “solutions” comment:

For our upcoming NYC concert – Tweetheart – Sympho has teamed up with the multimedia team Aytia|Matia and four intergenre composers to craft a continuous, truly multisensory evening.  Sympho’s fan base has an active role in programming Tweetheart, having already sent in suggestions for love songs via Facebook and Twitter contests.  The winning entries will be announced and performed (arranged for orchestra, of course!) at the concert.

This was wonderfully laconic. Sympho is Paul’s orchestra in New York, Go to their website, and you’ll see their logo, very current, very not classical music:


I haven’t heard the group, but as I browse their site, a few things are notable. First their mission statement, so to speak:

The standard classical music concert is a ritual that has remained unchanged for 150 years. The way dance and theater are performed has evolved steadily right up to the present day – even museums are constantly after new ways to bring their exhibits to life. But most classical music performance practices remain resolutely stuck in the 19th century.

Second, their description of their concerts:

Our concerts are movie-length, with a maximum level of stimuli, both auditory and visual. There is a guiding concept driving each concert and animating the music, and the whirling mix of old and new music acknowledges the lack of boundaries in our post-iPod society.

Third, the way they put their “Tweetheart” evening together:

In a collaborative spirit, Sympho teams up with multimedia dream team Aytia|Matia, as well as a group of stellar instrumentalists and singers, to present the premiere of Tweetheart. Composers Wynne Bennett, Paul Fowler, Paul Haas, and Grayson Sanders join the team to sculpt the flow of the event. Singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton and Haitian pop star Emeline Michel will perform cameos.

Sympho’s fan base has an active role in programming Tweetheart, having already sent in suggestions for love songs via Facebook and Twitter contests. The winning entries will be announced and performed at the concert.

And finally, the “Tweetheart” program:

Purcell, Love’s Sweet Passion
Prokofiev, Balcony Scene from Romeo and Juliet 
Mozart, Catalog Aria from Don Giovanni
Prince, Nothing Compares 2 U
R. Strauss, Morgen 
Pergolesi, Stabat Mater
Bjork, Cover Me
Jonathan Coulton, You Ruined Everything 
John Adams, Shaker Loops 
Emeline Michel, Commissioned Work TBA
Etta James, At Last
Verdi, Quartet from Rigoletto, Act III 
Monteverdi, Tu se’ morta
Purcell, Thy Hand, Belinda – When I Am Laid 
Gluck, Dance of the Furies 
Mahler, Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen 
Monteverdi, Gloria Patri

The concert’s on May 22, at the Church For All Nations, 417 West 57th Street. Worth knowing about! I hope I can go.

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  1. says

    Very glad to see Sympho in the “solutions.” I volunteered at Paul’s first attempt, “REWIND: a continuous visual and sonic experience,” at the Angel Orensanz Center in 2006. It was an incredible experience, so much energy and excitement. Great to see the momentum continuing, and I definitely recommend revisiting how REWIND unfolded:


    Thanks, will look at that. Glad to hear Paul is doing good work. Got an endorsement of him on Twitter, from @classicalive, who said Paul might be the best conductor he’d ever played for.