Virtual Music Instrument allows paralyzed musician to perform in Montreal

Posted on: November 21, 2011

In Monday’s (11/21) Montreal Gazette, Charlie Fidelman writes, “When Eric Wan wheels onto Montreal’s Place des Arts stage Tuesday, the audience will soon forget that the solo violinist is quadriplegic. Paralyzed from the neck down, Wan will be playing violin with the Montreal Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Wanda Kaluzny. The concert will mark the world stage debut of the Virtual Music Instrument that Wan helped develop as a graduate student in engineering at the Bloorview Research Institute at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto. A fundraiser for the Fondation Lucie-Bruneau, the event will also feature performances by violinist Adrian Anantawan, who was born without a right hand, and quadriplegic dancer France Geoffroy and her company Corpuscule Danse. … For Wan, 33, who trained as violinist before he was paralyzed, the event will allow him to play music again with professional musicians on a formal stage—something he once believed would be impossible because of his disability. Wan’s performance will be a six-minute piece, Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D major. But although his violin is virtual, the music is authentic. The VMI is an advanced software tool that translates movement into sound. Captured by a computer webcam, Wan’s head movements trigger pre-recorded musical notes and phrases.”

Posted November 21, 2011