‘A huge, geographically distributed musical structure, The Fragmented Orchestra will mirror the function of the human brain and the way it processes sound to produce a compelling and ever-changing new instrument and composition.’

This month, the Barber Institute Concert Hall at the University of Birmingham will become a member of the award-winning new music project, The Fragmented Orchestra, for an ambitious three-month music installation performance.

The Fragmented Orchestra - winners of the PRS Foundation’s New Music Award 2008 – has selected the Barber as one of 24 venues nationwide and the only venue in the West Midlands to house a small interactive sound unit which communicates with the other units across the country to produce an ever-evolving music composition.

The units not only use sound that they absorb, but also enable the public to ‘play’ with them in a number of ‘open house’ sessions through January and February, creating local sound that filters into the nationwide composition.

The unit will be located in the orchestra pit of the Barber Institute's intimate art deco concert hall. Here it will capture performances, rehearsals and classes with music students from the University, as well as recitals given by internationally acclaimed soloists and ensembles.

The Project:

The 24 venues were selected by artist Jane Grant, composer, musician and physicist John Matthias and BAFTA winning composer and sound designer Nick Ryan for their inherent sonic rhythms to create a unique score that will be performed to thousands of listeners throughout the UK. From a cattle market in Aberdeen to the Brighton Seafront, London’s Roundhouse to Everton Football club, a remarkable and diverse range of locations are connected via the internet to form a networked cortex, which will adapt, evolve and trigger site-specific sounds via FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) as part of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture programme from 12 December to 22 February.  Anyone can play The Fragmented Orchestra and the public are encouraged to visit their local sites at the open house sessions and help turn the UK into one weird and wonderful new instrument.


Listings information

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts: The Fragmented Orchestra

Open House Sessions 2009

Become a part of The Fragmented Orchestra as you interact with 24 Venues across the UK.

  • Friday 9 January 1pm - 3 pm
  • Wednesday 14 January 11am - 1 pm
  • Thursday 22 January 9.30 am - 11am
  • Sunday 25 January 1pm - 3 pm
  • Thursday 5 February 11am - 1 pm
  • Monday 16 February 1pm - 2.30 pm
  • Sunday 22 February 1pm - 3 pm

Admission free

Venue details:

The Barber Concert Hall

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham

Birmingham B15 2TS

Notes to editors

For further details please go to www.thefragmentedorchestra.com, or for site specific information please contact Jo Sweet, Concerts Administrator, concerts@barber.org.uk

0121 414 5791