In March, the Canada Council convened its first-ever Arts in a Digital World Summit in Montreal.
To prepare for the event, Orchestras Canada asked member orchestras from coast to coast to share their achievements and their plans in the digital realm.
We’re inspired by their achievements and their potential! Here’s a small sample of what we learned.
In 2014, the Calgary Philharmonic commissioned the Alberta College of Art and Design to design a visual installation to accompany their performance of Olivier Messaien’s Turangalila – a fitting backdrop to the colour-inspired composer’s revolutionary 1949 work:
In the 2015-16 season, the National Arts Centre Orchestra commissioned four new works to welcome new music director Alexander Shelley: under the heading Life Reflected, composers, lighting designers, film-makers, photographers, and literary artists worked together tocreate immersive concert experiences.
Backstage and operations
Every orchestra that responded is exploiting the power of cloud computing to increase efficiency and ensure good internal communication. Larger organizations are using (or researching) integrated software platforms that will bring together artistic planning, scheduling, payroll and production information, and provide both artistic content and artist availability to marketing and development departments.
Communications and marketing
Canadian orchestras have taken to social media in a serious way, animating their feeds with lively audio visual content, interviews, and more.
The Regina Symphony introduced their new music director, Gordon Gerrard, with a series of videos that have been widely viewed. Here’s just one example:
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is investigating a comprehensive re-design of all of its digital modes (website, social, box office, and internal management systems) into a portal system where everything is connected, accessible, intuitive and mobile-driven, enabling patrons to plan and customize their own VSO experience.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, with Signature funding from the Canada 150 Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage, has been capturing and sharing content from TSO performances and rehearsals:
- 360 degree video of the TSO in rehearsal for its Chinese New Year program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
- O Canada, performed in 12 different languages, all with full orchestral accompaniment: http://canadamosaic.tso.ca/
Canadian orchestras’ audio and video recordings are available on-line through download, streaming, and on-line sales of hard-copy product.
L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has developed strong partnerships with both IciMusique.ca and Medici.tv to make selected concerts available to music lovers around the world, including a recent performance from Vienna’s renowned Musikverein.
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, through Tafelmusik Media, its Watch and Listen site, and online store, is building new audiences around the world for its work. In this video clip, the orchestra’s Rejean Tremblay talks about the work the orchestra has done to build its brand and associated revenue streams:
Both Vancouver Symphony and the Calgary Philharmonic are in the planning stages of exciting streaming channels that will bring music to an even broader audience.
Education and engagement
This June, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra will be streaming concerts and workshops from live concerts and workshops in northern Manitoba to students and teachers in other isolated communities.
L’Orchestre symphonique de Québec was a key partner in the development of Les jardins symphoniques, an award-winning immersive iPad app that enabled users to “walk through” sections of the orchestra and hear and see what the orchestra’s musicians do.
In November, l’Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières live streamed a portion of a rehearsal to students at nine schools in the region, and Music Director Jacques Lacombe engaged in a real-time video question and answer session with the students following the rehearsal.