Queensland Symphony Orchestra and The Australian Voice (TAV) choir will haunt the Concert Hall for Ghosts in the Orchestra – an innovative piece by Australian composer Gordon Hamilton.
I asked Lauren Kirkwood, a member of TAV, to describe her role as a “ghost”.
“The choir appears in the midst of the orchestra to explore all the sounds the choir and the orchestra can make. As the ‘ghosts’ (TAV) increase in confidence, they start issuing directions to the orchestra about its sound.”
Usually, choir members stand still during a performance. At most, gestures and movements accompany their voices. In this piece, however, Gordon attempts the daring move (pun intended) of having a choir interact with an orchestra. “They [the choir] appear at the beginning of the piece and slowly move amongst the players, exploring them and their sounds. As the ghosts become more excited, they try to take over from the conductor: telling the string players to change their bow pressure or have the horns mimic the choir’s sound,” Lauren explained. “The trickiest part is getting the movements right while being clear and effortless. And of course, remembering the lyrics!”
In Ghosts in the Orchestra, the “ghosts” will cheekily instruct everyone in the audience to take a “selfie” and post them to Twitter with the hashtag #ghostorch. Lauren points out that the audience can even use their phones to comment on the performance.
“TAV’s choral work has always involved elements of boundary-pushing — it’s rarely just a bunch of singers standing stiffly at the front of the venue. Even when singing more traditional music, there’s more engagement with the audience and immersion of them into the piece being sung,” She said. “We tend to embrace the particular technological zeitgeist and readiness to embrace different media and technology.”
In the past TAV has performed a piece about Facebook and YouTube that blended “lolspeak” lyrics and emoticons.
This concert also features En Saga by Sibelius and Symphonie Fantasique by Berlioz, conducted by Benjamin Shwartz. It will be a phenomenal evening.
Premieres on 9th August at 8pm, QPAC Concert Hall.