Name: Jonathan Bonny
Main Subject: Classical Percussion
Research Supervisors: Gerard Bouwhuis, Fedor Teunisse
Title of Research: IN – the creation of an immersive music performance
How can immersive performance concepts be used to create a better connection between a musician and his audience?
Summary of Results:
In my research, I reflected on several aspects of a concert and how I want to communicate with my audience. Throughout the research I realised that finding ways to immerse an audience is easier said than done. My belief in immersion as a tool to guide listeners towards a certain atmosphere, attitude or interpretation is nevertheless still as strong as before. More than ever, I am convinced that this is the way for me to perform. This is particularly the case for contemporary music where inexperienced listeners might appreciate some guidance. This paper aims to inform (performing) readers of the possible (positive and negative) consequences of creating an immersive performance. Creating an immersive performance is difficult. It takes a lot of time, something musicians often do not have. In addition to learning the music, the performer needs time to brainstorm about the kind of immersion that supports the musical idea and does not distract from it. The line between the two is very thin. Once the immersion concept is established it often takes a lot of preparation to execute it. To bring elaborate ideas to fruition musicians will need the help of technicians, engineers, other artists etc. This explains why immersive performances are often organised by ensembles that rely on a bigger production team and budget. The danger here lies in the fact that those teams are often too far removed from the actual content of the music. Realising this made me think about other ways to connect with an audience. I concluded that besides immersion, also attitude and mindset are very powerful tools to decrease the distance between a performer and the audience. Low-tech solutions like literally performing very close to or surrounded by them are very effective to emotionally connect with the audience. Because of the reflective character of the topic I chose to write my dissertation in the form of an essay. My goal is not to present 'the ultimate truth' but to inspire myself and other musicians to create a personal (contemporary) performing identity.
Jonathan Bonny (°1992, Bruges) studied classical percussion at the School of Arts in Ghent, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. He is actively building towards a music culture that knows no distinction between genres and he is consistently looking for innovative ways to present contemporary arts to a bigger audience. He co-founded Headliner (adventurous music collective), Kunstenfestival PLAN B (contemporary arts festival) and IHEART (band).