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Scratch Orchestra

Tom Soloveitzik: The Recoveries' Mouth is Full

Scratch Orchestra is a term coined by English composer Cornelius Cardew in the 1960s and applied over the past ten weeks to a community workshop activity. The idea is that everybody who likes to play can do so, and not only that, but also take part in composing a musical piece that is meaningful to them. The emphasis has been on the performers’ experience during the process of composing and performing the piece, rather than on the final product.

The process of working with the so-called "non-musicians" began from producing sounds using familiar everyday objects. In the first session, participants played a lighter, a keychain, their knees, and a metal plate, and whistled. Later into the workshop, they worked on sequencing the sounds
and creating a graphic scheme for recording the composition in writing.

During the workshop, participants discussed the relative beauty of each sound and the experience of hearing and listening, and the sessions combined playing and performing with attentive listening. In the first session, for example, one of the participants was asked to pick a sound and play it several times, while the others were required to listen with their eyes shut and respond with sounds of their own choosing. Dialogues of this kind led to the creation of several improvised pieces. In the course of the following weeks, these pieces were documented graphically and finalized in repeatable versions that will be performed in the meeting.

This workshop is a first attempt to create a scratch orchestra that will meet on a regular basis over time. The work done by the participants made it clear – both to the workshop facilitators and to the participants themselves – that the experience of making music and group creative processes are available to all and are not the exclusive domain of people with exceptional musical talents, and that this experience allows for collective and personal artistic expression that is meaningful to the performers and audience alike.

Participants: Julia Almog, Tzipi Dabach, Duba Levanon, Ruti Levy,

Dina Menahem, Lea Poni, Dorit Pintu, Shosh Charhi, Ada Rahamim

On 2016, the orchestra continues to meet every Sunday. This year the orchestra won a grant supporting its activity from Mifal Hapais Arts and Culture Council. This support allows the orchestra to strengthen its connections with members of the community as well as musicians and

sound artists.

The orchestra participated an improvisation workshop together with students from Musrara Experimental Music Program, moderated by the sound artist Tom Soloveitzik. Tom joined Dan and Amnon as a steady moderator for the orchestra, vocalists Anat Pick collaborated with the orchestra during 3 meetings in Holon and a performance in Barbur Gallery, Jerusalem, and Composer Faye Shapiro works with the group on a piece for the final concert in July (details coming up soon). Lately, the Orchestra has also participated in several academic music workshops, an enriching experience for the group members, and for the students they meet.

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