Unboxing Mozart is an integral education and outreach component of the multi-year Mozart Momentum 1785/1786. This game revolutionises the idea of concert introduction as we invite our audiences to become active participants in an artistic experience that brings together classical music, collaborative performance and urban gaming.
Through Unboxing Mozart, participants experience first-hand the energetic musical and human interactions within an ensemble. In this interactive event, participants become a part of the ensemble, take on solo responsibilities, or act as part of a group to create constructive dialogues within a community. Unboxing Mozart extends the concert hall into the public urban area, and thus establishes new facets of communication between classical culture and the surrounding public.
Unboxing Mozart is developed in close collaboration with Invisible Playground, a Berlin-based team of artists, designers and scientists. The project is generously supported by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media.
At the core of Unboxing Mozart are 40 wooden sound boxes with integrated tablets and speakers. Through the sound boxes, each participant can explore passages of Mozart’s piano concerto by selecting different instruments and “playing” their parts together with their fellow participants. This was made possible by an extensive recording project, where every MCO musician recorded each passage individually. The sound boxes react to movement so the participant can start “playing” by lifting the box, or change the dynamics by tilting it. Short videos by Leif Ove Andsnes and the MCO musicians offer additional insight into the musical passages.
In addition to the pre-concert interactive event, Unboxing Mozart can be experienced in two additional formats: one is tailor-made for school classes, and the other is available in the form of an installation in the foyer of concert halls.
The walk is an interactive live experience before the concert, bringing the participants closer to the musician’s perspective on performance and to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20.
First, the participants meet the MCO on stage and receive their own sound boxes with integrated touch screens and speakers from the musicians. After this encounter, they set out on a walk around the concert hall to discover the music and to bring it to life: participants are led by their boxes to meet in designated locations, where they explore parts of the piano concerto together through their sound boxes. Along the way, Leif Ove Andsnes and MCO musicians provide insights via short videos into the musical passages they are about to discover. The walk begins with small group encounters and joint explorations of musical excerpts. This culminates in a joint performance, featuring all sound boxes, of the concerto’s third movement as the participants find their way back to the concert hall and to the rest of the concert audience.
In the concert hall, groups of three to five boxes become part of an installation in the foyer. During the intermission and after the concert, the installation – featuring elements of the live walk within a shorter time frame – invites visitors to experiment with the collaborative dynamics of music-making in short, playful moments involving two to five players. The installation can be set up in smaller and larger sizes, together with and independent of the live walk; it can also be featured in additional locations on Mozart Momentum 1785/1786 tours.
In addition to the live projects mentioned above, the Unboxing Mozart experience continues online. In the virtual playing field (above), users can explore selections from the piano concerto, choose and combine the individually recorded parts in various constellations and ensembles, and gain insight from MCO musicians into their favourite passages and the creative process of music-making.