Black Box Music in collaborative school project

The children in fourth grade at Frederiksbjerg Skole in Aarhus, Denmark, can look forward to a quite special music lesson when Århus Sinfonietta brings Simon Steen-Andersen's award-winning 'Black Box Music' to the young audience.

Throughout this week, bassoonist from the Sinfonietta, Annemette Juul Pedersen, will facilitate workshops with all fourth-graders, teaching them different ways to listen and to work creatively with sound and music. 

The young people at the youth centre Knudmosen in Herning, Denmark, also participate in the project. They have been introduced to Simon Steen-Andersen's 'Black Box Music' by Annemette Juul Pedersen and based on that introduction, they have developed and created a number of sensory- and listening boxes for the pupils at Frederiksbjerg Skole. Following the workshops, Århus Sinfonietta performs 'Black Box Music' for the pupils.

In a press release from Århus Sinfonietta, the daily manager Julie Boel explains, that the collaborations are very rewarding for the sinfonietta. "We get new insight in ways to better present contemporary music to a young audience."

Watch an excerpt from 'Black Box Music' performed by Carlota Cáceres and Zone Experimentale.

'Black Box Music' is scored for percussion solo, amplified box, 15 instruments and video. The starting point is the classical soloist-conductor, only in this case, the conducting and solo part are one and the same. The setting is a traditional theatre stage with curtains, props and light; only in this case, the stage is also an instrument. 

'Black Box Music' could be said to be a deconstruction of conducting and puppet theatre as well as an exploration and exploitation of the audio/visual relations inherent in conducting and staging. The “grand show” is in three movements, starting with ‘Ouverture’ and ‘Disambiguation’ and then finishing off with a festive, pompous, self-imploding ‘Finale’.