Conductor Charles Hazlewood wants Wells musicians to join his online performance project

  Posted: 02.04.20 at 10:45 by Tim Lethaby

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Top conductor Charles Hazlewood, who lives near Wells, is hoping to unite musicians the world over for a special performance online during the coronavirus crisis.

Charles wants to create a worldwide orchestra, including performers from the Wells area, all playing the piece In C by Terry Riley at the same time at their laptops.

Normally, a collaborative performance online would not work due to latency on the internet, but Charles says this piece of music is perfect for it.

Speaking to Wells Nub News, he said: "I want to create the largest orchestra in the world, and In C is almost unique in that in embraces latency, and will be perfect to bring together musicians everywhere, all playing together, at the same time in front of their computers.

"The project is in its early stages but today I will be working with 25 musicians from places such as New York, Bristol and Glasgow to play the piece together over Zoom to see if it is going to work."

Charles is putting the project together to help people working in the creative industries get through their fear at what is happening.

"This is a really worrying time for all artists, watching their earnings fall off a cliff," he said.

"Fear is an incredibly energy sucking sensation and as Yoda says in Star Wars - fear is the path to the dark side.

"We have to try and get around anxiety and even terror for some, as we do not know what the creative world will be like after this terrible crisis.

"We do not know how many festivals will have gone bust, or venues. But there are ways to get us out of this oil sump of misery.

"Use this time you might have to write some music or a poem. Listen to music, turn it up loud, pour a glass of wine.

"We need to create hope and possibility - I know that is the only way I am getting through this."

Charles says that for him personally, there is a silver lining to this cloud as it has relieved a lot of the daily pressures that have built up.

"These are unprecedented times, but I feel like a spring inside of me has uncoiled," he said.

"My life has been constant deadlines and high pressure performances for the last 30 years, but I finally have some time to stop and breathe. It's important that we take these positives in such worrying times."

Over the years Charles has conducted more than 200 world premieres of new scores by contemporary composers, and worked with contemporary musicians as diverse as Wyclef Jean, Professor Green, Goldie, Nigel Kennedy and Steve Reich.

However, he singled out the key workers who are busy keeping everyone safe and healthy during the crisis as being especially important.

He said: "There are not enough superlatives to describe the wonderful people who are still working, fighting this virus by keeping us healthy and making sure we are safe.

"I can't imagine how difficult it must be for them, but like millions of other people I agree that we owe our key workers the world for all the work they are doing saving lives."

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