London’s Southbank Centre, together with its four Resident Orchestras – the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment has recently announced its 2016/17 Classical Music Season. With the season launching in September 2016 a digital partnership with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen will present a classical music virtual reality (VR) initiative, the first from a UK-based symphony orchestra.
Running from the 23rd – 25th September, the VR experience will transport attendees into the middle of the Philharmonia Orchestra, through the Samsung Gear VR head-mounted display (HMD). They will get an immersive view principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen as he leads the orchestra through the closing minutes of Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony. Visitors will also get to see behind-the-scenes footage and views from around Festival Hall that would otherwise be unavailable.
Salonen, speaking in the video below said: “Creative artists for a long time have been dreaming about creating a world where they would create the laws, the physics and grammar and syntax of what audiences experience. But for the first time in human history, we have the technology that will do that for you. The incredible power of virtual reality is that it is disappointing to leave it – to come back to reality. There is no doubt that for classical music virtual reality will be a very powerful, useful medium … I am sure it will be the very first step in an exciting development for the future.”