99 + 1 ?
Occupy Wall Street began one year ago and continues to gather folks in locations around the world. Attending general assembly meetings in Seattle, I was impressed with the range of protesters from student revolutionaries to recovering addicts to curious bystanders.
For me, Occupy Orchestra prompts the questions:
- Why do people gather?
- Can the 99% and 1% find common ground?
- Does orchestral music provide a solution for democracy in the 21st century?
Haydn composed his 45th Symphony as a way to persuade Prince Nikolaus Esterházy to allow court musicians to return home. In the score, musicians play a solo, snuff out their candle then leave the stage. This playful protest music successfully persuaded the orchestra’s patron to give the musicians leave.
Occupy Orchestra provides a “hello” experience for the audience. Musicians play Street Variations as soloists then gather into an ensemble. Listeners walk around the concert venue possibly tuning their ears to a bassoon, then a tuba, then a viola as musicians physically and sonically converge.