News April 13, 2021

Two Aussie music digital innovators get global recognition

Two Aussie music digital innovators get global recognition

Image from Melbourne Digital Concert Hall

Two Australian music digital innovators who came up with strategies during the coronavirus lockdowns, have received global recognition.

Melbourne Digital Concert Hall (MDCH) and Damian Barbeler’s hiberNATION Festival of the Lo-Fi are in the German-based global Classical:NEXT Innovation Award 2021 longlist.

MDCH was set up by cellist Chris Howlett and musician and PR exec Adele Schonhardt to raise money for musicians whose work dried up.

“It’s time to put our artists back on centre stage, to put them first when it comes to revenue, and to put the needs of music lovers everywhere ahead of the status quo,” explained Schonhardt.

Broadcasting initially from the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne and then going national, within a year it raised over $1.25 million for musicians in Australian cities as well as London, Berlin, Singapore and San Francisco.

It won a special achievement gong at the 2020 National Live Music Awards.

More than 300 virtual concerts are planned for 2021, involving 500 musicians, and incorporating more national festivals.

Experimental composer and multimedia artist Damian Barbeler’s hiberNATION Festival of the Lo-Fi, meanwhile, presented roughly produced livestreams to capture “the joy and strength of spontaneous” collaborations between 100 artists in unconventional multi-media settings.

Most of them were emerging composers, whom he said, “were more likely to take risks in a lo-fi setting”, noting that “audiences really took to them”.

One of the streams was Barbeler’s himself, a two-part The Bush Somewhere which put the creative journey of a composer – usually a behind-the-scenes process – at the forefront.

The first part was the artist walking along Woronora River with Yuin elder Uncle Max Harrison talking about nature, capturing the experience for viewers from a camera on Barbeler’s shoulder.

The lesson was transformed into a series of musical sketches, performed and livestreamed by Veronique Serret.

Among other nominees were Germany’s 1:1 Concerts of a 10-minute show between a musician and fan, the Baccarelli Institute in Brazil offering music education for 1,200 kids and forming the first symphony orchestra in the world in a slum, a London classical concert to a drive-in audience in their cars, and a Taiwanese percussion group producing new music with local composers that crossed over to drama and dance.

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