Europe’s series of underground KLASSIK live music events, led by violist Tahlia Petrosian, will take over Dom Polski for three nights this month to prove that masterpieces can be made modern.
Sydney-born, now Leipzig-based violist Tahlia Petrosian has made a career in classical music.
But the illustrious musician, who plays in the Gewandhaus Orchestra and has appeared on The the Lord of the Rings and Australia film soundtracks, recognizes, more than ever, that the genre is fighting for its relevance in an increasingly visual modern world.
“A world where people won’t necessarily be willing to sit still for a two-hour classical music symphony concert,” she said. CityMag on Zoom from Paris.
“So you have to adapt to that, but still offer these cultural experiences with high added value, but for an audience whose expectations and desires have changed.”
His solution: Metro KLASSIK.
The series of events, which began in 2016, places classical music in contemporary venues. As string musicians burn masterpieces, projections, lights and lasers swirl around them, for added aesthetic stimulation.
Tahlia brings KLASSIK underground to Australia for the first time, as part of the multidisciplinary winter arts festival Illuminate Adelaide.
She brought together a troupe of local musicians to present a triad of seated performances for three days, from July 15 to 17, at the Center Dom Polski.
Tahlia has also assembled a group of top visual artists – Robin Fox, Margie Medlin and local cinematographer Liam Somerville (aka CAPITAL WASTE) – to provide accompanying visuals to the performance.
“We actually combine two worlds,” says Tahlia.
“We are not changing the classical music repertoire; we’re not changing what we’re doing in terms of crossover or pop or anything like that. It’s still in the world of classical music repertoire, but combining that with aspects of the club scene and visual art in the club scene.
Over the course of three nights, Tahlia says audiences will be transported through German Expressionism and American Minimalism, as musicians “transpose” a wide range of classical music and chamber history.
“But the works that I have selected will work in collaboration with the visual artists, to also give them something to work with,” explains Tahlia.
Liam Somerville is a master of analog cinema, known for his crisp VHS tapes. He’s also spent much of the last decade documenting the making of Dick Dale’s splutter-punk video. rib spreader.
But for this KLASSIK underground project, he’s embarking on a more reliable technology.
“[VHS] can all shit the bed really fast,” Liam says.
“While it might be fun, I don’t think it really fits the genre of classical music.”
The visual ideas of his concert, transfigured nightwhich is the July 15 edition of KLASSIK underground, were developed through email exchanges with Tahlia, says Liam.
They discussed “broad stroke” visual concepts, with the music serving as a springboard for him to work on.
“It’s all about the music, so it’s really about trying to reflect that on screen and having a feel inside of that,” says Liam.
“One of the pieces is called ‘Transfigured Night’ and it’s a poem, and it’s about these two lovers walking on a beach.
“Without revealing too much, the atmosphere or the character changes… [will] be represented visually through shapes and colors.
Although he works from pre-programmed ideas, there will also be an element of improvisation for Liam. His underground KLASSIK imagery will be “audio responsive”, meaning you’ll find him sitting behind his DIY computer “turning the knobs” to adjust the work as the music progresses.
Liam is thrilled to be working with Tahlia for the event, and she too matches his enthusiasm.
“I find it very interesting to … collaborate with people who come from a completely different point of view,” she says.
“In my world, we have a lot of people who are very immersed in the world of classical music and I think it’s always very refreshing and invigorating to be open to different ways of approaching classical music.”