Mass Participation Projects
For 2018, the EFG London Jazz Festival's flagship mass participation project returned, commissioning Blues and Roots Ensemble to create a new suite, inspired by Charles Mingus, for musicians of all ages and abilities which explored ideas of collective improvisation. The participants took part in rehearsals over 2 weekends in November to develop the music, and were then joined by Alfred Salter Primary School at the dress rehearsal on the performance day. The final ensemble was made up of 120 participants, aged from 7 to 77, including those new to their instrument and those who had been playing for a lifetime. This cooperative approach of having all ages and abilities on stage allowed participants to not only learn from the project leaders, but also from each other.
Written and led by UK saxophonist and composer Andy Sheppard, this large scale participation project provides the opportunity for saxophonists of all ages and abilities to perform en masse in public spaces and unusual places. The project was originally created in 2006 as The Living Bridge to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Brunel and launched the new lighting for the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. Since then, Saxophone Massive has evolved to include performances in the EFG London Jazz Festival, Leeds Fuse Festival and Norwich and Norfolk Festival. Internationally, the project has been staged at Jazz sous les Pommiers in Coutances, France and in Stavanger, Norway, as part of its European Capital of Culture programme and has had two outings in Switzerland in Stans and Coully.In the summer of 2012 the biggest ever Saxophone Massive took place in the stunning surroundings of London's Somerset House. 200 saxophonists, aged 7 - 77, from across Europe performed alongside Andy, as part of the Olympic programme at BT River of Music.
Choir Clock is a series of vocal performances by professional and amateur choir and vocal groups, taking place on the hour like clock-work across different locations. The project can be adapted to take place in any city, town or area. This piece takes audiences on a journey in pursuit of a trail of sound, discovering unusual parts of their locality, hearing distinct voices from a diverse range of professional and amateur choirs along the way.Choir Clock was premiered in June 2016, in Cardiff as part of the inaugural Festival of Voice in partnership with Wales Millennium Centre. The project featured 18 choirs performing on the hour every hour for 18 hours, starting at sunrise in Cardiff Bay, travelling through the city with pop-up performances, culminating at Wales Millennium Centre for its spectacular finale. Thousands of Cardiff residents came to watch the performances, which included House Gospel Choir who performed in the centre of Cardiff’s main shopping centre.
Make It/Break It
Make It/Break It is our new mass participation commission created by Chris Sharkey (guitarist with trioVD, Acoustic Ladyland, Shiver) for an ensemble of amateur musicians and vocalists. Over 100 participants have taken part in the project so far, in which participants rehearse together over a day-long workshop, then perform what is created to an audience that same day. Make it/Break it encourages participants to play around with improvisation and provides the opportunity for them to experiment with a variety of methods of music making alongside the experience of playing within a large ensemble of diverse musicians and instruments.This project has been in development since 2015 and a pilot version was presented as part of Gateshead International Jazz Festival in April 2016. The full piece premiered as part of EFG London Jazz Festival on Saturday 19th November 2016 at Southbank Centre.