In the year 2016, the members of Intercontinental Ensemble formed a collaboration with Beeldend Gesproken, an art gallery located inside De Hallen, in West Amsterdam. Every second Wednesday of the month, we have been presenting our musical interpretations to a featured art work, and it has been a very enjoyable process.
So far we have done six West Wednesdays in total, with more to come! We are also pleased to announce that we have a page on our website dedicated to the recordings of all the past West Wednesdays works. You can find the page by clicking here.
All of the “pieces” are semi-improvised. We first view the given painting, focus on few elements that are prominent in the work (e.g. figures, texture, colors, etc.), and then try to translate them into sound (e.g. keys, register, rhythm, harmony, etc.) to form a blueprint for the music. After that, we simply improvise around the blueprint. This format gives us a good balance between two components that are present in art: freedom and structure.
A typical West Wednesday goes as follows:
- The audience gets seated and examines the painting for 1 minute.
- Discussion about the painting takes place.
- Intercontinental Ensemble presents the musical reaction and then explains the thought process behind it.
- Another round of discussion, mainly over the question: Did the music reflect the painting?
Until now, it has been a very rewarding experience. We felt that we were able to intensify the audience’s experience with the art work every time. If you live in the Netherlands and have not had a chance to come out to a West Wednesday, we would like to welcome you to one of the upcoming editions!