It all started in Hamburg, when German record company Deutsche Grammophon had the idea of challenging international DJs to swap their traditional sets for classical music. The sessions were named Yellow Lounge and they sought to turn younger audiences onto classical music in the places they frequented: bars and nightclubs. It took off instantly.
Universal Music, owners of Deutsche Grammophon, quickly realised the idea could be a game-changer for classical music. Live performances from classical musicians were introduced alongside DJs spinning classical on the decks and VJs putting on visuals. One of the first stops on the road was Berlin. Felix Mesenburg, event manager of Yellow Lounge Berlin, says: ‘Classical music performance had for too long been associated with the older generation, locked up in venues that seemed inaccessible to the young. Why not help the music escape its stuffy confines and bring it to a new audience in a nightclub?’
One of the main goals was to take the music to eye level, literally moving the artists from the stage onto the dance floor. People at the back of the clubs were able to see via projected images on the walls. Ticket prices were also made accessible, with entry as low as €5.
The concept has now gone global and in April 2013 B&O PLAY teamed up with Yellow Lounge to take it to even more venues than before. The first collaboration was Yellow Lounge London, held at Fabric, with a performance by Miloš Karadaglić, an award-winning classical guitarist from Montenegro, and Ukrainian classical pianist Valentina Lisitsa. Next up was Yellow Lounge Berlin held at Kraftwerk, which featured world-renowned symphonic choir Rundfunkchor.
‘B&O PLAY and Yellow Lounge share something fundamental,’ says B&O PLAY corporate vice president Henrik Taudorf Lorensen. ‘Yellow Lounge is about taking values from a long-refined brand and company, Deutsche Grammophon, bringing it into a new context and making it relevant for a new generation. This is exactly what B&O PLAY is about - taking what Bang & Olufsen is about, sound and design, and making it relevant to a new generation. This is what makes the collaboration so right.’
Words by Oscar Lashley; Photography by ©Hoederath/Mielek