The project was part of the Portland Winter Light Festival 2023 with the aim of bringing musical solace during the darkest depths of winter

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Ombra Musici II (‘The Fiddler on the Roof’) was presented as part of the Portland Winter Light Festival 2023 on 3 to 5 February 2023, at the Portland State University (PSU) Urban Plaza in Portland, OR. The project aimed to treat attendees with a musical experience in an unexpected location; visitors to PSU’s Urban Plaza were able to look up from the street to see (and hear) a projection of  violinist Tomás Cotik, professor of violin at the School of Music & Theater, playing selections by Bach, Telemann, Piazzolla, and Tárrega.

Watch a documentary discussing the background to the project here:

The project, titled Ombra Musici II  (’musician’s shadow’ in Italian), is the result of a collaboration between Cotik and Dave Colangelo, a professor of digital creation and communication at Toronto Metropolitan University. The team received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to produce the project, which expands on Ombra Musici, presented at the 2019 Portland Winter Light Festival, where moving silhouettes of musicians were projected onto the PSU Library facade.

’Life has been radically altered by the effects of the pandemic,’ said Cotik, who notes that, while art activities, in particular, were halted during Covid-19, the human need for catharsis, comfort, and entertainment only grew. With this project, Cotik aims to surprise, delight and create a deep emotional experience for viewers – offering a moment of beauty, solace, reflection, and connection at the darkest time of winter by bringing music out of the concert hall and using the city as the stage.

Explore the making of this project here:

’This project challenges presentation formats and traditions, exploring possibilities of merging classical music with technology media to share culture and stories in public spaces. I am convinced that as musicians, an important responsibility lies in our involvement with our community, giving back, inspiring, and passing on our passion, by democratising art,’ said Cotik. For him, the project embodies PSU’s motto: ’Let knowledge serve the city’.

Watch the final complete performance of Bach Violin Partitia no.3 in E major, Gavotte en Rondeau, projected over PSU’s Urban Plaza:

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