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Question: What colour is Innovate?*

Do you taste music? Can you see sounds? Do words appear in colour before your eyes? If so, you have synaesthesia, a condition where multiple senses are combined involuntarily.

 

This week saw the launch of Bitter Suite, a unique new project developed through our Innovate programme which takes disadvantaged young people on a multi-sensory musical journey. Young people are taking part in a series of experimental sessions at Samuel Taylor Coleridge Centre in Croydon complete with lab coats, Stravinsky and plenty of sensory inspiration. Over the course of the project they will explore sight, taste, touch, smell and movement as they see and hear classical music in a whole new light.

The project was commissioned when Steph Singer, the producer behind Bitter Suite, pitched her idea to Programme Manager Lawrence Becko who, unbeknown to her at the time, is a synaesthete himself. Lawrence recalls: “I couldn’t believe someone was pitching me a synesthesia project. It’s not a condition that is talked about much and the way Steph brings it to life for young people is amazing.”

Bitter Suite’s recent sensory performance of Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor at Rich Mix sold out instantly, leading to coverage on BBC Radio 3 and garnering acclaim from the Guardian who said:

“Bitter Suite symphonies allow you to remain powerfully in the moment by teasing your senses in time with the music…This is a concert where you don’t just listen to the music – you taste it, smell it and feel it as well.”

Read the full review here: http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2014/jan/13/immersive-concert-bittersuite-classical-music-sense

Back in Croydon, the young people are working towards an installation that will bring their experiences to life for a wider audience. Watch this space!

And this is just the beginning, as Steph has plenty more multi-sensory magic up her sleeve. Find out more at http://www.bittersuite.org.uk. Follow @Bitter_Suite.

Our current round of Innovate closes today and we’ll have more news on the successful proposals soon.

* Answer: Innovate is white and light green with a bit of dark red.

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