The Musical Concept

COVID-19 contact restrictions have had a drastic effect on the musical programmes of many universities, musical schools & projects teams around the world. Ensemble playing and singing over the internet is almost impossible because of the time needed to send information back and forth through the internet. Like many other ensembles, last summer the choirs of Collegium Musicum Vocale at the University of Münster tested several programmes and learning models, creating – just like many other choirs around the world - some virtual choir videos, one of which made it to the INTERKULTUR Virtual-Choir-Competition 2020.

Still there are options for creating music, and the most successful model to date is the multi-track video or sound recording where everyone submits a track recorded at home, with the same backing track for reference. But what we still miss most of all, listeners and musicians alike, is the feeling of a shared event - even more so in these restricted times. When we are living with fear and strain, social contact and shared rituals would normally become more important to us. The longer the Coronavirus suspends the social fabric of the world, and takes lives, the more pressing it is to find ways to create 'events' that can have some kind of shared meaning.

Driven by the idea that every restriction leads to creative and innovative projects, „Mozart – the Sound of Distant Presence“ wants to take the virtual multi-track format to another level.
In the model of a summer school, international students are invited to join this concert project and experience the artistic, technological and didactic possibilities of musical distance learning, recording their own tracks with the help of video tutorials and exchange with the musical director. But the end result will be an installation, where the individual tracks are not rendered in an artificial software 'mix-space' but actually played back through many individual loudspeakers placed on the floor of one of the many large churches in Münster.

This new format creates an event that can be safely opened to members of the public, either successively in small groups, or more uniquely, to wander through at their own pace, amongst the speakers, exploring different sound combinations and listening to the details of the piece - in a way that is actually *not* possible in the concert hall, and or in a mixed-down stereo recording. Video Documentation of the final project will be based on this installation, recording the contribution of the space to the sound of instruments and voices.


Some Participants of "Mozart - The Sound of Distant Presence"
Participants of the international project
© ak