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Virtual reality headsets take audiences on stage

News - Classical Music | Orchestral

Virtual reality headsets take audiences on stage

by Dakshayani Shankar, Maxim Boon on July 23, 2015 (July 23, 2015) filed under Classical Music | Orchestral | Comment Now
New technology gives audience members a musicians-eye view during Adelaide Symphony Orchestra performances.

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is boldly going where no symphony orchestra has gone before. Bringing cutting edge technology into the concert hall, the orchestra will offer a new virtual reality headset to give audiences a 360-degree, on-stage experience during performances.

Through a partnership with Adelaide-based virtual reality production company, Jumpgate Virtual Reality, the ASO will showcase the new headsets during a specially curated set of performance: The Classics Unwrapped Virtual Reality Concert Series. The headsets are equipped with 360-degree visuals and surround sound from headphones to give audiences a feeling of being seated directly next to one of ASO’s performers. “It’s a unique experience of sitting on the stage with the orchestra and conductor standing right in front of you. That’s not something you can do normally,” said ASO’s Managing Director, Vincent Ciccarello. “It’s really immersive and truly gets you up close to the music.”

14 Go Pro cameras arranged in front of conductor and regular Limelight columnist, Guy Noble, capture images throughout the concert platform, allowing audience members wearing the headsets to get a musicians-eye view. A pilot run of the new technology was tested at a specially performance on May 6 at the Adelaide Town Hall, with positive results. After the successful test run, The ASO have added several more performances the Classics Unwrapped Project, which will take place across two series of concerts in late July and mid August respectively. The performances will feature works by Sibelius, Strauss, Haydn, Mahler and Australian composer, Carl Vine. It’s hoped the new headsets will foster a greater level of audience engagement and improve the rapport between the orchestra and the public, particularly newcomers to concerts.

“We’ve had a number of board members, many of our players and friends of the ASO experience it, and every single person has had the same reaction – they are blown away by it,” said Ciccarello. “We see the headsets as an opportunity to introduce people to the world of orchestra music mediated by the latest technology. Given that technology plays such an important role in the delivery of all forms of entertainment, we want to embrace that.”

For full details of the Classics Unwrapped Virtual Reality Concert Series, visit the ASO website.