Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Kurt Weill Festival's Tweetfonie

The classical music world has fallen in love with Twitter.
Singers, musicians, opera houses, concert halls, not to mention fans, critics, journalists, musicologists are all embracing social networks with a passion and enthusiasm that really does give the lie to those who say classical music and opera is dead or dying or that it's elitist or snobbish or out of touch with the modern world.

Well, the annual Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau, which runs this year from February 22 until March 9, has come up with yet another idea to woo musically-inclined Tweeps.

They're calling it a "Tweetfonie" and are inviting anyone who fancies themselves as a composer to come up with a good tune (or should it be called a"twune"?) and then tweet it to be arranged for a symphony orchestra in the blink of an eye.

The score and parts are then emailed and printed out for the Anhaltische Philharmonic Dessau and its chief conductor Antony Hermus who will be assembled in Dessau's Bauhaus and will perform the pieces live on March 3 within just 10 minutes of receiving them.

How can you tweet a melody?

Well, the organisers are putting up a special website -- -- on which the budding Mozarts can compose their tune using an on-screen keyboard.
The melody is then automatically converted into a tweet of 140 characters and sent to a special "Tweetfonie Call Centre" in the Bauhaus.

The best and most original "twunes" are filtered out and sent to professional composers and arrangers in Berlin, Paris and New York, who have an hour to compose a short piece of up to one minute around them.

The arrangement is then mailed in PDF form back to the Tweetfonie Call Centre where the score and parts are printed out and handed out to the waiting orchestra and conductor.

The performances are then recorded in both audio and video, posted on and sent via link to the Tweeps who composed them.

If all that sounds complicated, the budding composers have a few days to practice on the system. goes live on February 28, but the composers can only tweet their twunes for real from March 2.

The live concert of the best of them then takes place in the Bauhaus on March 3.

The scoring of the final pieces is as follows:

2(+picc).2(+cor. angl).2(+sax).2. –– tmp+2perc(no mallets), hp, pf 
– strings 8--‐6--‐4--‐3--‐2.
Here's the link to the full programme of this year's Kurt Weill Festival: