26.11.22, 10:00 – 30.11.22, 17:00

Hidden in plain sight: OPEN CALL for listeners

Hidden in plain sight
In search of a collective attention practice for classical music

OPEN CALL to all listeners
Laboratories in Zurich: 26–27 and 30 November 2022

What do we hear when we listen to classical music? What happens to our attention during the (usually long) time it takes to get to the end of a piece?
A School of Commons 2022 READ lab, Hidden in plain sight is the ongoing research of a common-based and inclusive attention practice for classical music listening. Listeners with all kinds of backgrounds and musical experience (including none) contribute to a collective practice where music is looked at and interpreted with the same undivided attention that it takes to learn a new language.

The project has developed as a series of laboratories, each including a group of three to five people and me (Elisa). After listening to a short piece played live at the piano, we share our different perceptions, thoughts and doubts, finding our way to dive into the piece’s unique musical matter.
Each laboratory is not a concert nor a lecture, it is an open conversation. We look for a common vocabulary to talk about what we hear, looking at music as a spoken language that anyone can understand and appreciate.

Sometimes interesting discoveries happen within the silence that falls when we don’t know how to describe something, when we are not even sure of what we are feeling. If we are not afraid, and we rely on each other to know more, then we may notice something that was there for us hiding in plain sight, waiting to be found.



At ZhDK, in Seminarraum ZT 6.F10, Hidden in plain sight will host four open listening&conversation labs between November 26th and 30th, according to the calendar below. In each lab we will listen to a classical music piece played at the piano, and share our thoughts about it. Conversations will be held in English and will be recorded for archival purposes. Some extracts, after approval, will be published in the context of School of Commons 2022 publications.

To participate you can write an email to hiddeninplainsightsonata@gmail.com selecting the date and time you prefer.
Drop ins are welcome too!

Participants are not expected to have any preparation or previous knowledge of classical music. The only requirement is curiosity and the willingness to share your perceptions with others. Since merging different backgrounds is so important for the project, if you are a classical musician or had classical music education in the past, please write it in the email.

Each participant will receive Fr. 50 (Fr. 41,50 after taxes) as compensation.



ZhDK – Seminarraum ZT 6.F10

Sat. 26.11.2022 10:00 – 12:30

Sun. 27.11.2022 10:00 – 12:30

We 30.11.2022 9:30 – 12:00

We 30.11.2022 15:00 – 17:00


Elisa is a pianist and editor based in Milan. She studied at Conservatorio “Giuseppe Verdi” and at Bocconi University, graduating from the master’s degree with an experimental thesis on students’ interest for classical music. She has worked in the editorial and communication department of Filarmonica della Scala, Festival Milano Musica, Sentieri selvaggi, Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto. She is interested in exploring different ways of playing and listening to classical music. Last year she conducted a series of laboratories in collaboration with the artists’ collective Altalena.

Image: Nerve cells in a dog’s olfactory bulb (detail), from Camillo Golgi’s Sulla fina anatomia degli organi centrali del sistema nervoso (1885)