Monday, August 1, 2011

A DJ in the orchestra : Music live lesson

Mason Bates

"Be it mixing trip-hop and funk at a club or writing a symphonic or chamber work, composer Mason Bates is getting noticed for his straddling of classical music and electronica." (...)

Donna Perlmutter, Concerto for Two Universes

Mason Bates | photo Ron Jones
"The music of Mason Bates fuses innovative orchestral writing, the rhythms of electronica and techno, and imaginative narrative forms brought to life by cutting edge sound design."

Talking about Music, before Maria Schneider and OJM concert, on
Friday, July 15, 2011, I went at Casa da Musica to listen an unusual concert: "A DJ in the classical orchestra". There were Mason Bates classical and Bates DJ.

Mason Bates (electronic)
photo: Todd Rosenber

Mason Bates is well known by using electronic and techno in orchestra composition.

Because I love good music, jazz, classical, rock or electronic, I do believe in Music fusion. No barriers for me if the music sounds quality!  

Mason Bates, is one of electronic and techno composers leading lights at the moment with his fantastic fusion with classical music.

He has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, whether through institutional partnerships such as his residency with the Chicago Symphony, or through his classical/DJ project Mercury Soul, which has transformed spaces ranging from commercial clubs to Frank Gehry-designed concert halls into exciting, hybrid musical events drawing over a thousand people. 

He mixed techno and electronic, surrounded by Porto Symphonic Orchestra Casa da Musica, led by Edwin Outwater who supported incredibly well the quality of the fusion.

In the programme: "Mason Bates Mothership"; "The B-Sides Arnold Schoenberg Five Peaces for Orchestra (1949).

While Mason Bates was performing with the Porto Symphony Orchestra at Casa da Música, I was thinking how it would be wonderful to some students have a Music lesson live! A real Music learning live! 

Even the DJ's post-party could be a good approach to compare the two sides of Bates art.

Looking around at Sala Guilhermina Suggia, I was pleased to see a great number of young people, some children with their parents as well. 
Of course, a DJ attracts young people. But listen Bates playing electronic with the Porto Symphonic Orchestra, it was a fantastic new experience to me and to them.
What a live Music lesson live !

You wonder! Why am I so touched by Music? And write often about Music in school curricula! 
Well, I can explain! I have a Master degree in Music - Piano. So, I can easily express myself about Music and its importance in Education.

This is one of the reasons. But the most important reason why I write about Music in curricula is because  I really think that Music must be taken as a serious matter in School Education. I do believe that Music has an important role in the education of all children and young people.

photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images


Music can improve self-confidence, social cohesion and students' understanding of other subjects.

Because of the governments' obsession with targets, exams, and with numeracy and literacy, the Arts and Humanities, and Music in particular are suffering.

In Elementary and Secondary Education, Music curriculum is not yet a major value. It is so wrong! Music, as you could read in different posts on my blog, is a fundamental part in Education of children and young people.  We all know the importance of music in kids' life.

Do you remember YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011? Of course you do! Did you felt the enthusiasm of young musicians all around the world? Thousand ! You read about it on my posts.

The London Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas recently recorded Mothership, and the work was subsequently premiered at the Sydney Opera House by the YouTube Symphony to an online audience of 1.8 million.

"This energetic opener imagines the orchestra as a mothership that is 'docked' by several visiting soloists. The brief solo passages are written out or, when an orchestra has a talented improviser on any instrument, can be improvised."

Some thoughts:

A concert as the "A DJ in the Orchestra" moving fluidly between tclassical and electronic in the same room performing electronic drum pad and laptop, it is an experience that a Music teacher would be able to transform in a fantastic and innovative learning live if he was at Casa da Musica with his students. I am sure that the students' feelings would be amazing!

After the concert, teacher and students could complete this live lesson at school in two or three lessons.

Music has the potential to achieve social and psychological transformation of children and young people. Their sensibility will be accurate.

Never waste an opportunity to captivate the major interests of your students. Music is one of the biggest.

"Bates's Liquid Interface, a National Symphony commission  (...) surpassed in sheer sonic beauty even the works by Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky that rounded out the program." 

NSO, Electronic Beauty, Andrew Lindemann

Bates & Maestro Muti
photo: Todd Rosenberg

In awarding Bates the Heinz Medal, Teresa Heinz remarked that “his music has moved the orchestra into the digital age and dissolved the boundaries of classical music.”

Agree! Absolutely, after this concert !



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