A complete performance: music at Tower Bridge

A blog post from July 14, 2012 ·


Over this month, the City of London runs an amazing festival, with all kinds of cultural activities. Last Sunday, a special musical performance saw its premiere. Created by the young composer Samuel Bordoli, this Live Music Sculpture was staged in the walkways of the Tower Bridge.

It demonstrated the way in which the effect of a performance does not only depend on its creator and the performers, but also on the circumstances in which it is performed. In this case, the performance took place in one of London’s most iconic buildings, which makes Bordoli’s task simultaneously interesting and challenging. Interesting, because the site in which a performance is positioned is part of the impact the performance has on its audience. Challenging, because it is such an over-familiar site, that the risk to create a cliche is looming around the corner.

A bit uncomfortable, but especially curious, we entered the walkway. Above all feeling privileged to be part of this – before it had even started. After asking instructions, we were told we could walk up and down the walkway, enjoy the view and above all the music. It was the first time I got to enjoy a music sculpture with this intensity. Especially written for this performance, the composition was carried out three times, with pauses in between. In addition from the historic location, the view from the walkways played an important role in the performance as well. As soon as we entered the walkways, it started raining while the sun was shining, with a rainbow as result. I know this sounds corny, but it felt like even the weather knew the performance was about to happen. Once we walked in between the performers, the views were simply spectacular. While the music flew up and down the walkways, the sun shone through the many raindrops on the windows, offering atmospheric views on the Canary Wharf area, the HMS Belfast war ship and the just opened mega tower the Shard.

Bordoli composes for specific locations, preferably with historical connotations. Hopefully he will keep doing this for a long time to come. It makes its audience appreciate both the music and the surroundings on a new level. By means of his music, he offers a moment of stillness in a city in which the sound scape is continuously filled.

For a registration of the performance, responses from the composer and the audience: click here.
More about the City of London Festival, you find here.
Photo left: Musicians are lined up to start Live Music Sculpture for Tower Bridge
Photo right: View from the walkway on HMS Belfast (middle) and the Shard (left)

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