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Violist Lawrence Power and director Jessie Rodger are embarking on a new immersive project combining film and 360° pre-recorded audio with live musicians.  

During a break from rehearsals, Power spoke about his new project: ‘I’m so intrigued by how much more potential there is to use film in a creative way, not just the idea of playing a concert with a nice projection behind you but using it in an interactive way.’ 

‘The audience will see me moving through them playing then disappear into the screen, only to reappear performing in Cornwall. In essence, Fathom is a combination of film and performance, like a solo viola recital, underpinned by this beautiful film.’  

Power will be performing a wide range of repertoire including works by Johann Paul von Westhof, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Barbara Strozzi, Thomas Larcher and Kate Bush. Many of the pieces have been specially commissioned for Power, including a world premiere by composer Peter Gregson.

How involved does he liked to be in the creative process? ‘I try not to put my ideas across, regardless of whether I find it hard or easy as it’s up to composers. 

‘For example, Peter is such a virtuosic composer who writes a lot for film. He’s a very flexible composer and knows how to achieve what he wants which is very exciting.’ In contrast, Cassandra Miller’s piece involving a backing track required a lot of collaboration between performer and composer.  

Power will use a variety of different accompaniments throughout the night. In addition to the backing track in Miller’s piece, Power will use a drone in a work by Esa-Pekka Salonen and be joined by other musicians at various points for moments of chamber music. ‘These pieces bring their own challenges about how they’re going to work within the space but what comes out of the collaborations are always really exciting.’  

Together, Power and Rodger created the production company and creative studio Âme during lockdown. Focused on connecting artists and sharing performance in innovative ways, Fathom is its first event of this kind.  

‘Âme is French for soundpost and for soul - I kind of love that name. It feels like the soundpost is such a connective part of the instrument, connecting the two parts of a violin or cello. Without that there would be no sound. In the same way, the idea [behind the company] is to connect parts of the arts that don’t always work together.’ 

So how should audiences approach this event on 1 December? Power describes it as a ‘room for the curious’, inviting not just the classical connoisseurs but also those who are new to classical music. ‘I hope that people come without any preconceived ideas. 

‘I guess the problem with classical music is that, of course, certain people will expect certain things if they’re used to hearing regular classical concerts, but I hope people just come at it with a completely open mind and enjoy sitting back and enjoy experiencing all these different elements coming together.’ 

Fathom is on at the Southbank Centre on 1 December 8:30pm. Book tickets here.