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Music in Movement: an interactive guide to contemporary classical music

Music in Movement (MiM) is an interactive guide to the life and work of the greatest composers of contemporary classical music. Reusing unique archival resources it highlights the richness of European contemporary music by tracing the stories of four eminent composers: Louis Andriessen, Pierre Boulez, Arvo Pärt and Kazimierz Serocki.

Personal stories offered in a wider context

Music in Movement guides the user through the work of Europe’s greatest composers of contemporary classical music in a user-friendly and engaging way. Placing archival materials in its core, MiM seeks to cater for musically educated users while also meeting the needs of broader audiences interested in culture.

As contemporary classical music is often referred to as “difficult” and challenging to appreciate, it needs to be presented in an accessible way. MiM does so by presenting the musical pieces and their composers in the broad context of the cultural and socio-political landscape of the 20th and 21st centuries. Four composers were selected from both sides of the Cold War’s geopolitical boundaries who explored similar aesthetic territory. Focusing on their lives, with support from rich archival material, MiM investigates not only their personal careers but also the wider European context in which they were, and in case of two of them, still are functioning. To illustrate this context, the project shows connections, talks about relevant others who influenced their work and mentions music festivals which facilitated movement across boundaries.

Musical Crossroads

One of the components of the online guide is the network visualization tool – a graph, based on openly accessible content that serves to help the user uncover wider connections and allows him or her to freely and independently identify relations between the four composers, and their ecosystems.

The graph, called the Musical Crossroads, can be explored by end-users by entering the graph from the composer personal profile pages, or they can directly dive into the complete overview of connections from the homepage. In addition, users can access the graph from individual articles. It is possible to click on all entities, which reveals additional information and links to other openly available content coming from for instance Wikipedia or Europeana. It is also possible to link to images and other media from the graph to the main site. The dots on the links let you discover the relation between entities and help you decide with entity to explore next.

A promo video has been produced to introduce users to the concept and explain usage of the tool:

When offline meets online

Using online interactive exercises and workshops held in the real world MiM wants to engage its user in both, online and offline activities. Through an online quiz, a glossary and tailor-made teaching materials MiM explains key concepts of contemporary composition trends, styles and techniques, bringing them closer to the general public.

Foreseen as a 9-month pilot to a bigger initiative, MiM is created by four prominent institutes engaged in the preservation and exploitation of cultural heritage – the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (NISV); the National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute (FINA), Poland; the French Audiovisual Institute (INA); and the Arvo Pärt Centre (APC), Estonia. They joined forces to create a comprehensive guide to the work of four of Europe’s greatest composers of contemporary classical music. Two creative agencies – Rytm Interactive (Poland) and Frontwise (Netherlands) – are responsible for the design and development of the online environment.

The project has gone beyond the stage of a pilot project by delivering an extensive website ( with a wealth of resources and stories, including educational resources and an innovative network visualisation tool. The partners were able to demonstrate that through a combined effort of four archival partners in different European countries and two technical partners, a sometimes difficult topic such as contemporary classical music can be presented in an innovative and attractive way. The combination of live performances, workshops and online resources provided an unique opportunity to engage with the topic.

Ready for your own private encounter with classical music? Start with the double concerto Tabula rasa by Arvo Pärt – one of the cult pieces in the music world and let the holiday season mood take over or explore the specially created Quick Tour of MiM.