Designing for Classical Music

The stage is an interface

When we attend a musical event, there is either a conscious or an unconscious expectation that there will be something to see as well as to hear. In the classical music field, this is a significant cause of audience decline, because people expect an experience which is musical, kinetic and at the same time visual. This kind of event is not easy to find in the typical classical music concert format.

As beings living in the era of the image, we are much more acclimated to a visual sense of occasion than the generations before us. We expect to see the weather reports, to see the news, and now we expect to see music.

G. Rossini – Stabat Mater

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With these ideas in mind, I had the chance to be involved in some challenging video productions for classical music and ballet. These experiences gave me the possibility to learn, develop and test new techniques and visual concepts directly on stage, and receive immediate invaluable feedback from real audiences.

I consider the video content for a classical concert like a soundtrack for a silent movie. Its job is to deliver a more comprehensive sensorial experience, offering visual hints that stimulate the viewer, without diverting his attention from the music. The music remains the absolute protagonist, and it’s naturally augmented by a new visual approach.

The material I produce for projections has no narrative; there is no story to follow. I base it on naturalistic or lifelike elements, colors, and textures readapted and synchronized in real-time to fit with the musical composition and the analogic nature of the instruments. I consider the stage as an interface that discloses the elements of the visual production progressively. Following principles borrowed from UX design, I aim to avoid the overload of information that is spreading in modern productions with video projections.

In a usual situation, you’ll see me managing the video projections during the concert, while I follow a pre-written score and use my favorite techniques of video-mapping and light design. If you DO see me, please come to meet me after the concert and tell me your thoughts. My notebook is always ready.

Schubert String Quintet in C major, D. 956 (Adagio)

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Works and Venues

I’ve spent a solid three years working away in the background on international productions as UX-Video Designer. In the following sections, you can find a selection of works and venues in which I had the chance to apply my experience as designer and musician.

For additional info and inquiries, you can write me at info@jacopocastellano.com.

Repertoire

Carmina Burana, C. Orff

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, L.V. Beethoven

Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”, Op. 95, A. Dvořák

Stabat Mater, G. Rossini

Die Moldau, Bedřich Smetana

String Quintet in C major, D. 956, F. Schubert

Prelude “La Cathédrale Engloutie” (10th-I), C. Debussy

Venues

Gewandhaus, Leipzig (DE)

Opernhaus, Magdeburg (DE)

Stadion, Zürich (CH)

Tonhalle, Zürich (CH)

Duse Theatre, Asolo (IT)

Teatro Jorge Isaacs, Santiago de Cali (Colombia)

Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura, Santiago de Cali (Colombia)

Coliseo Iván Muñoz, Roldanillo (Colombia)

Zürich Stadion

2016 / 2017

Leipzig Gewandhaus

2016 / 2017

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