Taking classical music outside the concert hall, virtually and otherwise

Posted on: October 6, 2015

“Put on a virtual-reality headset, and you are so close to Gustavo Dudamel, the wild-haired conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, that he almost hits you with his baton,” reads an unsigned article in Saturday’s (10/3) Economist (registration required). The orchestra’s Van Beethoven project “is touring Los Angeles in a van.… Inside are several concert seats and pairs of virtual-reality headsets.” The article discusses other orchestras using innovative means to engage audiences. “Those used to ‘on demand’ digital music can be less keen on showing up at a set time, to hear something someone else has chosen to play for them. The Philadelphia Orchestra has tried playing three excerpts from different scores, letting the audience vote for the one they would like to hear the rest of. Others have added longer intervals in bars, or jazz after concerts. ‘It’s a tough balancing act to adapt to what that new generation’s preferences are and retaining the integrity of what an orchestra is,’ says Jesse Rosen of the League of American Orchestras.… Virtual reality … is slowly penetrating real life. In November Oculus … will join Samsung to sell a virtual-reality device for $99. This should be great for orchestras like the LA Philharmonic.”

Posted October 6, 2015