Order and Anarchy
The concert is about to begin... please switch ON your phones!
This year’s main piano event, entitled Order and Anarchy, took place on Zoom. A quick rethink of conventional strategies was applied in order to transform a musical experience to a virtual platform.
Since lockdown people have started realising what it is they miss about live concerts. While previously fellow audience members may have been little more than a nuisance, now we know what it is that we miss – their uhs and ahs. It is this communal experience of a live event that social media can offer, as those uhs and ahs transformed into emojis and reactions on Zoom’s chat last night.
While students performed music that exemplified one of the abstract concepts of order or anarchy, everything from clapping hands to thinking emojis sprang up on the screen.
What does ‘order’ mean? Rules, methodologies and propriety are ideas that might come to mind. The strictures of Bach fugues, presented skilfully by Orphée Patricot and Jerry Xiao, along with a set of Beethoven variations played by Ray Hayashi, demonstrated this first abstraction.
And how about ‘anarchy’? It can mean disorder, but can also imply freedom and the absence of a controlling system. ‘Liberty in its truest sense’ was one description that was posted. This second idea was palpably experienced through the liberalism of Charles Ives’s mash-up of ‘London Bridge is fallen down’, played with aplomb by Malek Marar, and Friedrich Gulda’s jazz-fusion antics as interpreted by Columbus Sandor.
This virtual concert experience, according to the participants’ posts, was ‘engaging and enjoyable’, and ‘almost like the real thing’. The future may well involve technology continuing to be used to augment the traditional concert hall experience.