How to engage your audience with technology

by | Jun 5, 2017

Do you ever wonder what the future will look like 10-30 years from now? If you are like me, you will imagine flying cars and robots everywhere. But how do you imagine the future will look in a classical music setting? As technology advances, will orchestras still be using paper and outdated procedures, or will they advance and incorporate current and future technologies into their daily work?

While it may still take some time before orchestras embrace all the possibilities of today’s technological advancements, some orchestras have slowly begun experimenting with the new artistic possibilities that technology offers.

Let’s take a look and see how some orchestras are using technology today to keep their audience engaged and to stay relevant.

Orchestras & Virtual Reality

In 2015/16, the Los Angeles Philharmonic launched an ambitious and widely acclaimed virtual reality app called Orchestra VR. A first of its kind, the app made it possible for people to experience the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall in a 360-degree 3D performance. The performance features the opening of Beethoven’s classic Fifth Symphony performed by the LA Philharmonic.

By utilizing new technology the LA Philharmonic has been able to reach thousands of people whom they would never have been able to reach otherwise. It also signals that they understand the time we live in and the real need for adaption. All in all, it is a very creative and very forward thinking approach to engage a new audience.

Orchestras & iPad apps


Back in 2012, the Philharmonia Orchestra from the UK released a very innovative iPad app. The purpose was to introduce a new audience to the inner workings of the modern orchestra. The app, simply called The Orchestra, allows for real-time selection of multiple video and audio tracks, along with an automatically synchronised score and dynamic graphical note-by-note visualisation of each piece as it is played. For someone who wants to get to know more about an orchestra and to see up close how they work, this is the ultimate experience.

The material, which was captured by 10 cameras, consists of the orchestra playing 8 separate pieces over 9 hours of recording time at the Henry Wood Hall in London. Other features of the app include Philharmonia players presenting their instruments as well as Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and musicians from the Philharmonia providing commentary on each piece.
All in all, this provides the user with a truly unique insight into the world of the orchestral musician. The app, which appeals to hobbyists and music lovers alike, is still very much relevant and has been a big success for the orchestra.

Orchestras & Live Streaming

Another really special and creative experience is one that the Berliner Philharmoniker is offering. Now you can enjoy a livestream of their concerts on your TV, computer, or handheld device such as an iPad or iPhone. Choose from four different subscription plans and gain access to more than 40 concerts filmed in HD and with amazing sound quality. The experience is supposedly the next best thing to a live concert and aims to be just like having the Philharmoniker inside your living room. You can also get behind the scenes access to see how it all works. For the Berliner Philharmoniker, there is no doubt that this is a very smart way to stay relevant and to expand their stream of income. If you would like to see and hear for yourself, simply register on their website and get instant access to a free concert.

Embracing Technology

In conclusion, it seems that technology can truly make a difference by helping orchestras expand and gain new territory never before possible. So why aren’t more orchestras using technology, what is holding them back?

There is no doubt, that orchestras that can and will make an effort to embrace technology, will be able to hugely benefit. While such a move may at first seem challenging, it is important for an institution to think long term and to understand where we are headed as a society. After all, times are changing fast and history shows that you either adapt to new changes and challenges or fall behind.

So what do you think? What are some of the ways you think orchestras can adapt to these new times in order to stay relevant and capture a new generation? Comment below and let us know.


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