The Oportosmouth Sinfonia: Ready-made Concerto for Non-guitarists

Following up on the legacy of Gavin Bryars’ Portsmouth Sinfonia in the 1970s, we proposed a concert by a ready-made guitar ensemble of non-guitarists: the absolute rule for participants was they could not have no prior experience in playing guitar – maybe they even had an aversion to it! Non-musicians were preferred, but musicians could participate if their regular instrument was not a guitar.


Participants built short pieces collectively from scratch in the morning, with the goal of performing a concert that same evening. The mood was informal, meditative and improvisational, punctuated by short discussions and adjustments. There was a tendency towards mantras. The guitars were explored in their totality: strings, frame, percussive qualities, as receptacles, as design objects. RTP made a short piece that played a few times on public television.


The concert took the shape of a recital, the guitar ensemble being led by each participant in sequence. Paulo was invited to provide infra-sounds on his moog, as a dynamic underlying texture. All were amazed by how such a leap into unknown creative territories can reward, inspire and teach.


The lab will continue; new events will take place, and at least one edition of the collected audio is being prepared.

Are we a band? We’ll find out.


Coordination José Maria Lopes
ScheduleLab: 15 Oct 2014 @ UPTEC PINC (FBAUP building, room 4) Concert: 15 Oct 2014 @ Passos Manuel
Location UPTEC PINC, Passos Manuel
Instructor José Maria Lopes has a PhD in Drawing (U.Porto, 2009), on the subject of the Drawing of the Body in Portugal. Currently he teaches and conducts research at the School of Architecture of the University of Porto, developing content on the subjects of Drawing, Human Figure and Spatial Representation. As a musician-catalyst, José Maria has participated in the FuturePlaces Digital Media Festival since 2008, and as a visual artist he has exhibited since 1984. As a guitarist, he feels like he was born with one in his hands.