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The Harmonium Project

Usher Hall, Edinburgh


Ground-breaking research and powerful musicality

The Harmonium Project was a free, outdoor, projection mapping event marking the opening of the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival and the 50th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus. Created by 59 Productions, the piece combined John Adams’s mesmerising choral work Harmonium with a series of spectacular animations, projected onto the outside of the Usher Hall, with an audience of almost 20,000 people gathering on Festival Square to view the transformation of this much loved Festival venue.

Working with the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics, the project examined the effects singing has on both the performer and the listener. Gathering data from musicians and singers and using it to guide and inform the animations that blanketed the facade of Usher hall, this project marked a unique approach to visualising music.

A recording of Harmonium formed the soundtrack to this spectacular event, performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus conducted by Peter Oundjian. Combined, these elements formed a spectacular show informed by both groundbreaking research and a powerful sense of musicality, delighting and amazing festival audiences.

Opened August 2015

Usher Hall, Edinburgh

The Times - 10th August 2015

Harmonium at Usher Hall

WhatsOnStage - 10th August 2015

The Harmonium Project

BBC Arts - 8th August 2015

BBC at the Edinburgh Festival - The Harmonium Project

The Guardian - 8th August 2015

Trip the light fantastic: Edinburgh's Harmonium Project – in pictures

The Telegraph - 7th August 2015

Is this what singing does to your brain?


Creative Director
Richard Slaney

Animation Director
Nicol Scott

Chris Plant

Aaron Brady
Lawrence Watson
Marco Sandeman
Peter Dobes

Junior Animator & Data Wrangler
Raphael Pimlott

Ciaran Smith
Oliver Salonen
George Mikrogiannakis

Lighting Design
Leo Woolcock

Production Manager
James Roxburgh

Max Spielbichler

Line Producer
Akhila Krishnan

Assistant Designer
Betsy Dadd

Documentary Camera
Dougie Walker

Produced by
Edinburgh Festival Chorus
The Royal Scottish National Opera
University of Edinburgh