Musicians Who Have Transitioned From Paper to Digital Scores

by | Mar 22, 2017

Digital music is growing, largely thanks to the power and reliability of electronic hardware – such as the release of the iPad Pro 12 “9 inches in 2015.

But let’s go back a few decades and discover the pioneers who were the first to bet on digital computers or first generation iPads.

Conducting with Sheet Music on iPad


Maestro Jeffrey Kahane Conductor Los Angeles Philharmonics iPad

Maestro Jeffrey Kahane made his debut as a conductor in 1988 at the Oregon Bach Festival. He has since conducted many orchestras including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics. In May 2017, Mr. Kahane completed his 20th and final season as Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
To make a long story short, he is a big shot in the classical music world and in 2011, he conducted the New York Philharmonic entirely from his iPad.

Performing with Digital Scores on a MacBook


Borromeo String Quartet performing with digital scores on a MacBook

The Borromeo String Quartet is in-residence at the New England Conservatory. It was formed in the 1980s at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Nicolas Kitchen, the famous violinist who founded the quartet, initiated the use of MacBooks to perform sheet music because he wanted his colleagues to see all four lines of the scores. He prefers laptops for their larger screens but still carefully keeps his iPad in his bag should he ever need it. For him, the easy access to original manuscripts enables him to have around 40 Beethoven manuscripts on his computer from which he reads as he plays. In his own words, “it’s been stimulating in a way I could never have anticipated”.
So where are they today? The Quartet continues to embrace the technical world – they are now exclusively performing using iPad Pros.

Turning Pages with a Bluetooth Foot Pedal


Hugh Sung bluetooth page turner pianist airturn founder

Hugh Sung is a professional pianist who fell in love with digital scores because they provided an easy solution to the stressful page turn issue.
That’s why he co-founded AirTurn in 2008, a company that makes wireless page-turning pedals compatible with lots of digital platforms such as tablets, iPads and computers. In 2013, he published a game-changing book called From Paper to Pixels, to help musicians transition from paper to digital sheet music using sheet music reader applications and pedals.

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