Connections is a creative music and dance partnerhsip project across Europe that worked with two separate groups of older people in Manchester, UK and Wuppertal, Germany in the spring of 2016.
The Manchester group worked with a composer and orchestral musicians from Manchester Camerata over a period of eight creative workshop sessions to compose a brand new piece of music based on the theme of connections; connections to place, to people, to the next generations, to community, to culture, and to nature.
The piece was created and orchestrated entirely by the group themselves with the support of the composer and musician. During the process, ideas from the piece were sent to a group of dancers from the Tanztheater fur Menschen ab 55 at the Adult Education Centre Wuppertal to look at choreographing a piece of movement based on the music. The groups shared thoughts about the theme, mood, structure and instrumentation of the piece in order to create something that would work for both groups in a variety of settings - whether live or recorded.
The Manchester group's piece was recorded by an ensemble of musicians from Manchester Camerata with our Music Director Gabor Takacs-Nagy at Blueprint Studios, then sent to the group to use for a performance at the Long Live Arts Conference in Brussels in April 2016.
The project aimed to set the older participant into the artist role of composer; creating new music and taking part in the rehearsals, recording process and performance with other professionals. It also highlighted the possibility of future collaborations between orchestras and dance companies of older people in both Manchester and across Europe.
We are extremely grateful to the Baring Foundation for their support of this project.