Guildhall School Students Create Augmented Reality Installations in London

The commissioned works are designed to be experienced via a walk-through installation in London Wall Place, the largest green space in the center of the city

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Four new works by student composers at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama have been commissioned as part of HARMONY — an outdoor augmented-reality exhibition.

In order to experience the works, attendees download an app on their device of choice, scan a QR code at each of the locations, and listen to the piece through their own headphones.

The new works were performed by players from the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) — including flutist Gareth Davies, violist Anna Bastow, trombonist James Maynard, and clarinetist and Andy Harper. The players worked in collaboration with Guildhall production students to create the recordings.

The listening experience is accompanied by virtual animations at each location, which have been conceived by Guildhall graduates. Attendees can view the animations by holding up their phones to scan a particular location when instructed by the app.

Each work is inspired by a particular location on London Wall Place, a historic street that has been re-imagined as a hybrid green space and cultural precinct. The street offers 45,000 square feet of gardens and plays host to a range of events. The locations are all of significance to the street's Roman-era heritage and include the St Alphage ruins, the One London Wall Place water feature, the gardens near the Minotaur statue, and the highwalks.

"HARMONY highlights the delicate balance of the elements that make a particular place unique," said Dan Shorten, Creative Director at Guildhall Live Events. "Collectively, the augmented reality, music compositions and totems draw inspiration from this magical blend of characteristics in the City of London and celebrate its place-specific creative energy by balancing contrasting elements unique to each location."

"After such a long time not being able to work with other musicians, it's been wonderful to collaborate with young composers from the Guildhall School," said LSO Principal Flute Gareth Davies. "The future seemed quite bleak at times and so it is particularly important that we've been able to help and encourage the younger generation in writing new pieces which can be shared with people as they gradually come back into the city."