Classical music has an image problem.
Pianist Nicole Tj and violinist Thomas Lo, two recent graduates of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music are working to flip younger people’s perception that classical music needs to be a stuffy experience.
In 2013 the Melbourne pair formed anon., a chamber-music duo dedicated to pushing the boundaries of performing the genre by filtering it through the lenses of fashion, photography, film and architectural space.
“People aren’t as involved in live performances as they could be,” says Tj. “With anon. we wanted to see what we could do to reinvent the concert experience itself.”
Their latest performance project is Trailer Music. It asks: What if you created a film inspired by music, instead of the other way around?
“Our idea was to explore what happens when you try to represent music visually,” Tj says.
After bringing composer Nicholas Buc on board to write a 12-minute piece, a Pozible campaign earlier this year provided the funding to put out a call for filmmakers. They settled on six emerging directors: Junhan Foong, Justin Sebastian, Michael Chandra, Timothy Casten, Brooke SHH Aung, and Liam Gordes, with Joel Harmsworth from The Sweet Shop production company as supervising director and Mages Ruiz Diaz (Production Lead of TedX Melbourne) as project manager.'
“They’ve each been allocated a segment of the music to work with. The only boundary we gave them is a starting and ending phrase to link the segments together,” Tj says. The result is six linked short-narrative films, each around two minutes long – roughly the length of a movie trailer.
This Saturday night’s performance of Trailer Music is structured as a concert, with local cellist Tim Hennessy joining anon. for the night.
The Trailer Music piece will be played first, followed by one of the masterpieces of the classical period of the piano trio (Saint-Saëns Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 92). Then, they’ll show the film with the music.
“The idea is to show the audience this is what six filmmakers have put together based on the music, and they can see how similar it is or how it differs from their perceptions.”
While it’s interested in further exploring the link between film and music, Tj says that at its core anon. remains a music group. “It’s a concert experience, but the film is an essential part of that experience. We want to get the audience members in the zone, to tap into their imaginations and create their own perceptions of the music. We’re going to take them on a bit of a journey.”
Trailer Music takes place on Saturday August 29 at 7pm at the Meat Market, 3 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne.