Taking Classical to the People

By ODT | Posted: Thursday February 23, 2023

Some of our musicians featured in the Otago Daily Times at the end of January

See article below:

A group of young people are hoping classical music played in public might inspire a generation of enthusiasts to reach deep into the canon and pick out a new favourite tune.

Shoppers, tourists and shop workers around Dunedin might have been surprised to find a full-sized piano serenading passers-by in Albion Lane on Saturday.

The idea was the brainchild of Connections, a youth group which aims to promote classical music by bringing it out of the recital hall and into the public.

Organiser Alexander Sun (17), of Logan Park High School, said Saturday’s event involved about 30 musicians who played at Albion Lane, the Dunedin Botanic Garden bandstand, the one-way section of George St and Meridian Mall between 10am and 2pm.

It was the first time the event had been run and he was expecting there would be more in the future, possibly as many as once a month.

The idea came from busking, where there had been a desire for a more organised event, Alexander said.

Unlike pop music, classical was seen as for old people.

"We think lots of people can appreciate it ... We are trying to break that barrier and bring classical music closer to everyone."

While not every pedestrian had stopped to listen, those who did had really enjoyed it.

The event was planned by a group of seven youths either in high school or their first year of university.

The other members were Melissa and Bianca van der Haegen, Ronglei Sophia Liu, Ayla Biner-McGrath, Skyla Murray and Angela Fu.

Alexander said they were grateful for the support of Tim van der Haegen, Tom McGrath, John Van Buskirk, John Colwill, Sydney Manowitz and Sofie van Huffel of the Dunedin Performing Arts and Competitions Society, as well as Adrian Mann of Alexander Pianos, who had made the event possible.

Ronglei is pictured.