Transitioning Musicians from Paper Scores to Digital

Mar 22, 2017

So who are the Pioneers that paved the way when it comes to digital scores? What do we know about them? and how are they doing this? The music industry is slowly but surely making it’s way into the digital revolution, thanks largely to the help of the Laptop, Tablet and most recently the iPad and iPad Pro. These are just a few examples of the devices and advancements that technology has brought to the music industry.

Let’s find out exactly who they are and how they are doing this!

iPad with Maestro Jeffrey Kahane

Kahane made his debut as a conductor in 1988 at the Oregon Bach Festival. He has conducted many orchestras including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics. He is now in his last season as Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

To make a long story short, he is a big shot in the classical world of music and guess what in 2011, he conducted the New York Philharmonic from his iPad.

MacBooks with the Borromeo string quartet

The Borromeo string quartet is in-residence at the New England Conservatory. It was formed in the 1980’s at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Nicolas Kitchen, the famous violinist who founded it, 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 probably 40 Beethoven manuscripts on his computer” from which he reads as he plays. “That’s been stimulating in a way I could never have anticipated.”

So where are they today? Borromeo continue to embrace the technical world, you will see them performing now using the iPad Pro.

Page turner with pianist Hugh Sung

Hugh Sung is a professional pianist, convinced of the benefits of digital scores because it enables first to solve the stressful page turn issue.
That’s why he co-founded in 2008 AirTurn, a company making 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, which helps musicians transitioning from paper to digital sheet music, using sheet music reader apps and pedals.

So where are they today? Like the Borromeo String Quartet, Sung also continues to perform using the advancements of the digital world and has become a big fan of using the iPad Pro.


Technology is forever advancing, think back to the dial-up internet and cassette walkmans, now fast forward to the Mac book and iPad Pro. Which decade would you prefer to be living in? Jeffrey Kahane, the Borromeo String Quartet, and Hugh Sung have all opted for the 21’s and we couldn’t agree more. All three inspiring musicians currently read their sheet music digitally and are greatly reaping the benefits.

Let’s face it, digital is changing the world one millisecond at a time.


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