With live performances returning, orchestras expand digital media beyond concert videos and streams

Posted on: November 8, 2021

Video still from the the San Francisco Symphony’s latest SoundBox program, curated by pianist Jeremy Denk. Photo: courtesy SF Symphony

“When orchestras and opera companies were forced to shut their doors in March 2020, they faced an enormous challenge: finding an alternative way to stay connected with their audience. For many, this meant turning to the internet,” writes Tom Jacobs in Tuesday’s (11/2) San Francisco Classical Voice. “Now that audiences are gradually returning, these organizations remain committed to … their online platforms. But the focus … is shifting. The virtual world is now seen as a way to build a far-flung fan base; to collaborate with artists whose work might not be a natural fit for the concert hall; and to provide programming that complements the offerings they are presenting on stage…. Renae Williams Niles, chief content and engagement officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, … reports that … the orchestra’s Sound/Stage video series has received more than 4.8 million views. Given that success, she said … ‘The question is, now that we’re back to live performance, what is the role of digital? What does that look like?’… Said Oliver Theil, head of digital innovation at the San Francisco Symphony, … ‘We’re creating content that’s unique to the digital realm…. It is now part and parcel of what we need to be doing going forward.’ ”