SONGS AND SOUNDS
Songs and Sounds is a project created by pianist Gavin Roberts and I with the aim of bringing new music to new audiences.
Back in the hazy days of 2015, I began to think about how contemporary music could reach more people. I'd been lucky to be involved in some brilliant, collaborative projects that created rich and interesting music, but audiences were often light on the ground. It felt like a bit of an injustice, particularly when so much hard work had gone into creating and developing something brand new.
I thought back to the way that new music was presented in the late 19th Century, when salons were platforms (albeit for the rich and well-connected) to present new music. They were intimate, and an opportunity to meet the composer in person, allowing the possibility to ask them questions about their work. I thought that perhaps it might be worth trying something similar today, but for anyone to attend, and not just the well-to-do. From my own experiences, contemporary music has often struggled to attract, or connect with, new audiences. I thought that it might be worth trying to create a similar experience of the 'salon', but making it relevant for today.
Our first live concert was in 2017 at Iklectik in London where we performed works by composers who I had worked with in the past, of whom had kindly given me more of their music. The composers were also in attendance; the idea being that the audience would be able to connect more with the music if they could see and hear from the composers themselves. I chose Iklectik as it is an intimate, contemporary space, as opposed to a potentially imposing concert hall in attempt to break down barriers.
We followed that concert with another a year later, as part of the Marylebone Music Festival, and were hoping to arrange another live one for May 2020. Of course, the circumstances radically changed. But people still needed to connect to music, so Gavin and I decided to take the opportunity to try presenting our concerts online. We soon created our Facebook page and YouTube channel with the very generous help of composers and performers who gave their time for our first two hour-long concerts featuring music and interviews.
We hope that Songs and Sounds will continue to grow, connect, and inspire. New music can be for all - it doesn't need to be feared or avoided, but should be embraced with our ears and our hearts.