new resonances

A creative colloquium on music and architecture convened by Theatrum Mundi and the Onassis Cultural Centre.

As part of the aim to move classical and contemporary music beyond the 19th century concert format, performance has colonised unintended architectural spaces, informal settings, and the urban public realm. How can one ensure that this , does not amount to doing the same thing in different places? This colloquium will bring together composers, musicians, and architects, to explore what happens when architectural or urban space itself becomes a parameter for the writing of new music.

Historically, music and architecture have developed in tandem, bringing changing social forms with them. Simple plainsong was written for contemplation in the resonant spaces of cathedrals, string quartets composed for background music in the chambers of wealthy 18th century patrons, light opera staged for the performative public gatherings of the emerging 19th century middle class, and multi-media performance created for the networked concert halls of the 21st century. What new types of music-making and new settings for its reception could be found in experiments with architecture beyond the stage?


Through public performances and panels, and backstage discussions and workshops, Composing Space will open up discussion around questions such as:

  • Is composing for space a good direction for new music to take?
  • What ways of making new music are opened up when it is composed using the acoustic, material, and social qualities of architectural and urban spaces?
  • After the concert, what new rituals of gathering for music can be invented for spaces of the contemporary city?
  • What happens to a piece of music as it moves between public and private places?
  • Does music made for one place become trapped in its context or can it be mobile?
  • Does site-specificity make music more exclusionary?
  • In what ways can music transform the social or functional character of architectural space and conversely how does space mediate the accessibility of music to different audiences?
  • What is urbanity in music? How can urban social characteristics be observed in music?
  • What is the difference between being site-specific and space-specific?

Full programme will be published soon!

About Teatrum Mundi

Theatrum Mundi is a network of people from the performing and visual arts, the built environment disciplines, from across the academy and community and social collectives. Based in London, with partnerships in New York, Paris and Beijing, it activates projects, meetings, and research in cities around the world. Theatrum Mundi asks questions about urban culture. Who makes it? Where does it take place? What are the politics of production and display? What are the connections between performance, design and politics, and how can those connections help us understand cities? The aim of Theatrum Mundi, across its diverse activities, is to afford vulnerable provocation between people involved in confronting these and other questions about the condition, inequalities, and politics of urban culture today.

11 - 13 october 2018
Venue tbc