Could classical music become as popular with young people as the latest games console?

The Somextro International Symposium has arrived at Falmouth University’s Penryn campus today for an all-day event of performances, workshops and discussions to get people excited about contemporary classical music.

Co-founder of Somextro Maurice Verheul who is also a biology teacher in his home of Amsterdam, began proceedings this morning to an intimate audience with a discussion on the background of Somextro and the community of composers, hailing that “new music calls for new techniques” in between jokes wishing he had brought the ‘Playstation 4 of pianos’ with him.

The organisation, made up of composers from all nations, aims to build networks with fellow musicians to provide deep insight into the problems and successes of new classical music.

After his impressive performance this morning, American composer Anthony Green spoke of how technology is shaping the music industry: “It’s really starting to bridge the definitions of what is music. There are composers today who create multimedia experiences with video and audience participation, but they do it from a focus on the music so the lines are constantly becoming blurred.”

Today’s event, taking place at the Academy for Music and Theatre Arts (AMATA) has been organised by third-year music student and Somextro artistic director Miriam Richter who spoke of the importance of today’s event: “Classical music is being seen as much more of a niche thing now because we have no recordings of people like Bach, we have historically informed performances but they do not reflect current cultural times.”

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The use of technology is becoming an ever increasing part of contemporary classical music, and many composers are also trained computer programmers meaning the genre is healthy and thriving in a world dominated by digital listening.

Their first visit to Falmouth brings a wide range of composers and musicians, and hopes to establish new connections within the industry and develop ideas and thoughts alongside students, staff and the public, as well as displaying their own recent works.