HP Innovation Issue 18: Summer 2021 - Page 65

“ THE [ VR EXPERIENCE IS ] OFFERING THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ACCESS TO SYMPHONIC MUSIC AND CREATING A GREATER APPRECIATION FOR THIS ART FORM .”
— GUSTAVO DUDAMEL , MUSIC & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR , LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC
PHOTOGRAPHS THIS PAGE AND LEFT : CURRENT , RISING ROH 2021
SEA CHANGE A still from the London Royal Opera House ’ s Current , Rising production , above left . Audience members inside the experience , above right . A scene inspired by Shakespeare ’ s The Tempest , left .
“ We went to virtual 360 because the pandemic stopped in-person concerts ,” says Sylvia Rubin , president of New Jersey ’ s Adelphi Orchestra . With normal concertgoing suspended for the last year , the symphony forged ahead , streaming performances like its Baroque Festival in March and a Saint-Saëns at 100 program in May in 360-degree video — and even selling VR headsets online .
In Barcelona last September , CaixaBank ’ s nonprofit cultural foundation La Caixa launched Symphony , a free virtual concert . Slated to travel to nearly 100 towns and cities across Spain and Portugal over the next 10 years , Symphony deploys pairs of room-sized mobile units to public squares . Inside , wearing HP Reverb G2 VR headsets , visitors find themselves on stage at Barcelona ’ s Gran Teatre del Liceu , seated with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra as famed Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel
leads them through the first movement of Beethoven ’ s Fifth Symphony . From there , viewers take a surreal ride through the galaxy to the workshop of a luthier , or maker of stringed instruments , where they fly through the inside of a violin and the various pipes of a trumpet .
A longtime advocate of making classical music more accessible , Dudamel worked closely with La Caixa to bring Symphony to life . He says the project is an embodiment of music ’ s ability to transcend differences and promote social integration , “ offering thousands of people access to symphonic music and — I hope — creating a greater appreciation for this art form .”
Elevating technology to new heights In 2015 , Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic released a classical VR concert that was limited to 360-degree views from an orchestra member ’ s seat or from behind the conductor ’ s lectern . In the following
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