RNCM Orchestra Lab with Manchester Collective

Autumn 2019 saw the start of our ongoing collaboration with trailblazing ensemble Manchester Collective, challenging the traditional concert set-up.

Over the course of a week-long residency at the Royal Northern College of Music, artistic directors Suzy Willson and Paul Clark, together Manchester Collective’s Rakhi Singh worked with students to devise an immersive musical performance.

We were interested in challenging the traditional form of a concert, exploring the idea of musicians moving during the performance, with a fluid programme featuring music by Bach, Vivaldi, Ligeti and new short compositions by Paul Clark.

Adam Szabo, chief executive, Manchester Collective, said:
“We’re always thinking about how we can work to renew and refresh the live classical experience, both for our players, and for our audiences. Working with CLOD ENSEMBLE has been something of a breakthrough for us – it feels like the way they think about space, drama, and movement really resonates with our own practise.

This residency at RNCM was a chance to start developing our own, unique form of teaching – our task is to equip performance students with the skills that they will need to flourish in a classical sector that only bears a passing resemblance to the world that existed 50 years ago. More than just training them to be better musicians, this work is also about helping them to relax into themselves, to feel more physically at ease, both in and out of the recital hall or practise room.”

Paul Clark said:
“It was the late 90s when director Suzy Willson and I started experimenting with small-scale installation concerts, exploring the use of light, the possibilities of movement, and new ways of programming music. Nowadays, people’s attitudes towards presentation have opened up quite dramatically in comparison to those early days, often thanks to the brilliant work of groups like Manchester Collective. At the Royal Northern College of Music, we worked with a group of talented young string players on all these elements, thinking about how these can affect the way the musicians approach their performance and the audience listens to the music.”
Watch this video to see our work with students from the Royal Northern College of Music.