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Classical 101

Did You Smell That Mozart? Immersive Concerts Tickle the Senses

We've known for a long time that the hills are alive with the sound of music. But soon the hills might also be alive with the smell, taste and feel of music. BitterSuite, a project with ties to the University of Sussex, is exploring the experience of synesthesia, a neurological condition in which the senses cross signals, causing people to experience certain sounds, for instance, as color. Through classical music performances with added scents, tactile experiences and flavors, the BitterSuite researchers aim to "use sensory stimulation to enhance young peoples experience of and engagement with classical music." Here's how the music blog of the British newspaperÂThe Guardian described the Phaedrus Ensemble's recent BitterSuite-infused performance of  Debussy's String Quartet at Rich Mix arts center in London:

... the audience were blindfolded and fed different sensory experiences in parallel with the music: fizzy pop and cola bottles for the effervescent second movement and fingers scampering up your arms in tandem with the first violin, then as the music changed, a scent-soaked silk scarf flickering across your skin, and hands laid on to give a sensation of pressure or relaxation.

Imagine: perfumed Prokofiev, moist Mozart, bacon-flavored Bach. It's happening. Now. Read more: Scented Scarves, Scampering Fingers and Ice: Concerts the Immersive Way (Guardian)

Jennifer Hambrick unites her extensive backgrounds in the arts and media and her deep roots in Columbus to bring inspiring music to central Ohio as Classical 101’s midday host. Jennifer performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.