Fringe just finished up their first season:

The concerts will look something like this: chamber music (classical music played by small groups of musicians) will be the focus of each evening, with performances of some of the most virtuosic music compositions ever written, performed by the best musicians in Atlanta and throughout the country. Unlike the iconic classical music experience of sitting, listening, yawning, and then leaving, each interactive performance will be a swift blend of live music performances, a DJ spinning ambient and electronica, documentary-style videos of the performers and finally, an independent, jury-selected short film.

Atlanta music critic Pierre Ruhe writes:

The most radical shift in all this is how Fringe empowers its audience. People applauded after every movement of a work, no one shushed the occasional whisperer, beer and wine helped take the edge off, and no one gave bathroom visits during the performance a second thought. Also, the music was available for free download the next morning.

In recent decades, when concert rites ossified and the repertoire rarely included music composed after the early 20th century, the performers, by default, held a dominant position. Among other complications, this led to passive audiences who sat quietly, applauded at prescribed times and knew their role as a paying support group for the folks up on stage. This is a bit of a generalization, but I think not so far off the mark.

Fringe’s casual scene means that it is incumbent on the musicians, moment by moment, to earn your rapt attention.

Those ideas came up a lot in my review of the excellent book Highbrow/Lowbrow. Great stuff. Makes me wish I’d heard of Fringe *before* the last concert of the season. Damn. [via alex ross]

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