The Shape of Concerts to Come

stian westerhus, ntnu, department of music

The modern Norwegian jazz/improvised music scene has proved itself as an interesting playground for musical explorers. Challenging and crossing over to just about every genre.
The musical scene I have grown up in has felt free of the limitations of genres, but with a clear centre standing in improvisation and most importantly: the personal musical output.

While the classical and contemporary world of composed music has explored their performance spaces and performative formats, the modern jazz scene is generally stuck on stage. While the electronic musos have developed clear cut technology for 3D surround sound a long time ago I am still seen as advanced when I play my guitar in stereo.
The typical “jazz/rock-club” setting with a stage, stereo PA and some varied lighting is the format I am expected to perform in.
“The club” is a somewhat standardised format that has shaped the way music is played.

I believe that the format I perform in shape the way I compose, play and perform my music, and in this project I want to challenge those formats to further enhance the compositional and performative side of my music. I also want to find new ways of performing in the same clubs, take the music off stage, explore new technology, bridge my music to other performative arts – both auditive and visual – and let this research be reflected in the creation of my music.

This project therefore seeks to explore the following:

  • How does my music change if I change the format of which it is played?
  • Can I develop practical productions off stage that can travel and are not site specific?
  • What scenographic elements and work methods can add to this process?
  • How can I utilise new technology in this respect?
  • How can I challenge the way I compose for my instrument and my music through actively changing the format of my concert?