A memorable self organising musical experience

Some experiences are truly self organizing and effortless. This evening I was part of a gathering of thousands of people, standing in the cold in Milan’s Piazza della Scala. The orchestra in La Scala played the funeral march from Beethoven’s third symphony to an empty theatre as a tribute to the conductor Claudio Abbado, who passed away a week ago.  
You can watch the performance here: An Emotional Tribute. They projected the emotionally charged composition to the crowds, who stood in silence, paying their respects to the maestro.  I was struck by how harmoniously strangers came together. Soft murmurs came to a standstill at 6pm, when the rendition began. People displayed a natural empathy and created a path for others to pass without having to navigate through the crowd. While dispersing, I didn’t feel one nudge or push, but certainly felt moved by the experience.  Before today, I had never heard of Mr Abbado, and nor do I have a love for classical music.  But yet I was moved by the simplicity and elegance with which large crowds of people came together in silent collaboration. I think the energy in the environment was a result of shared values and common purpose.  As designers we always say that we don’t design experiences, but design the conditions to create positive experiences. Today, I learnt that a well-designed experience could foster collaboration and spread humanism.
Note: Credit for the image is attributed to Juan Seguí Moreno on flickr