Usher Hall

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.

Selected Press

“Harmonium at Usher Hall”

The Times, 2015-08-10

“The Harmonium Project”

The BBC, 2015-08-08

“Is This What Singing Does to Your Brain?”

The Telegraph, 2015-08-07

“Festival Preview: The Harmonium Project”

The List, 2015-08-04

“Trip the Light Fantastic”

The Guardian, 2015-08-08

“The Harmonium Project”

What’s On Stage, 2015-08-10


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