Last year, in November, we visited the Mariinsky Theatre, for the project The Fruit Piano. This was the early years variation of our Conductive Music, and here’s what happened!

Traveling to Russia was exciting for us at Conductive Music. We were greeted at Pulovo airport by our project partners from Art-parkING and transferred to the Mariinsky Theatre, where we immediately set up for our workshops. The organizers supported us at every step and we became friends over our trip. They showed us historical sites, gave local information, and met with us for dinner and drinks multiple times.

At the Mariinsky Theatre, we presented our project and ran our workshops as part of a large Russian international childrens festival, which included concerts, workshops and activities throughout the week. We reached over 200 people in three days. Our 13 sessions each started with our concert performance, exhibiting the potential of the Makey Makey and Conductive Music instruments, and ended with another concert by the children, featuring music they composed on their instruments during the workshop. We introduced children of all ages (3 to 5, 6 to 9, 10 to 14) to music technology, digital instruments, sound design and performance. Many came to us at the end of the workshops, asking questions and thanking us in English and Russian. Among the childrens’ performances were original solos and duos of Russian folk songs. We were impressed by the speed at which children understood the principles of the instrument and adapted it.

We met with the director of educational programmes at the Mariinsky Theatre who not only was happy with the project, but also brought in many members of staff to observe.

Financially, the grant helped us overcome the main problem for mobility — logistic costs. We were welcomed by all the collaborating cultural associations. We believe that this grant has helped our projects to develop internationally and is a fundamental step to overcome the geographical barriers that hinder artistic collaborations.

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Enrico Bertelli

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