Sydney Youth Orchestras’ Fractured Orchestra Project Offers A Way Through

The Fractured Orchestra Project is a collaborative composition by members of the 550-strong Sydney Youth Orchestras, and the end result is now available online.

The Fractured Orchestra is a multi-faceted creative project commissioned by the Sydney Youth Orchestras. Over 3 months in winter 2020 during the height of COVID-19 lockdown in Sydney, Australia, the musicians of the SYO were invited to respond to prompts to make their own work. These were recorded and filmed with smart phones, resulting in over 800 submission of short musical compositions, images, spoken word and drawings.

The musicians were asked: What does an orchestra do when social distancing means you can’t be an orchestra? It’s a question hard enough for the professionals to address; harder still for young student musicians who have seen their ambitions and their future look increasingly uncertain in the wake of the 2020 pandemic. The Fractured Orchestra is their answer: a dazzling mix of musical improvisation, self-filmed images and spoken observations that are moving, penetrating and humorous – part-journalism, part-prediction, part-musical composition – created in bedrooms, backyards, and even a wardrobe, on whatever smartphones or tablet devices they had at hand.

Initiated by SYO Artistic Director Christopher Lawrence, The Fractured Orchestra brings together the exceptional creative team of composer and media artist Damian Barbeler, film-maker Sophie Raymond (whose music documentary Recorder Queen premiered recently on ABC TV’s Compass) and multi-award-winning editor Lindi Harrison.
Watch the finished project.


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