When Virtual Reality meets the orchestra

Welcome to the digital society of the 21st century. A society where any time, any where, at your fingertips, is increasingly and faster than ever, becoming the standard across industries, products, geographies and people.

It is no longer about millennials only – it is about our contemporary society and our everyday life across the globe. It is about mobility and convenience, as well as the consolidation of the smartphone era.

This new normal challenges the status quo as a whole – and the orchestras are no exception. Standing still is no option at all, and the way to the very survival involves a fair deal of innovation, strategy, technology and customer-centric attitude. It involves reimagining the possibilities and embracing new ways to conveying a message, to engaging with the audiences, to providing relevant and fulfilling experiences with music.

Starting mid 2000’s, a fair number of orchestras around the word have already debuted with live concerts, and have been increasingly broadcasting a selection of concerts via internet. Podcasts, media-rich websites, a great variety of mobile apps – all part of this effort to offer differentiated customer experiences. London Symphony Orchestra (2005), Berliner Philharmoniker (2009), Sao Paulo Orchestra (2011) are among the orchestras already broadcasting some of their gigs online.

Virtual Reality is apparently the next natural step for them. 2016 have seen a number of experiments with VR by orchestras around the globe. The Berliner Philharmoniker started with Mahler’s Third Symphony, conducted by Iván Fischer, recorded back in Jan 2016.

The Philharmonia Orchestra showcased their digital offer with a brilliant takeover of the Royal Festival Hall back in Sep 2016. It was the first major VR production from a UK symphony orchestra – a great achievement indeed!

The Brazilian OSESP (Sao Paulo Orchestra) offered its first VR concert last month (Feb 2017), broadcasting from its home room in São Paulo, Brazil. They had the conductor Isaac Karabtchevsky leading the Symphony Nr2, by the Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos.

The VR offer is, no doubt, still to be shaped to meet a great deal of expectations around customer experience – its current format is still not enough to surpass the experience of a live concert. But it is already very exciting to learn about the feedbacks and new engaging possibilities being explored. And very reassuring from an accessibility perspective too! More to come.

 

 

 

The Long Journey Of Women To The Podium

Listening to one of my favourite radio programmes the other day – BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters – I was delighted to learn more about a fascinating history of Mrs. Sylvia Caduff, the world’s first maestra. So many achievements, so many milestones… it is a shame her name is not spoken and revered everywhere when we comes to great conductors!

Who would say she had to hide behind a window of a room where Mr. Herbert von Karajan was giving a masterclass to young conductors at Lucern Festival one day, only to approach him by the end of it and… secure a test! Her very first time conducting, no formal specific study at all prior to that occasion – apart from conducting via… the radio at home.

Later on, Mrs. Caduff had some specific study, and was Leonard Bernstein’s assistant at the New York Philharmonic. She became one of the first women to conduct the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. And that was back in the 1960s, when it was unlikely for a woman to conduct a top orchestra.

Last week I’ve been to Barbican Centre in London for a concert with the London Symphony Orchestra, which was originally set to count on the Russian conductor Valery Gergiev and the Dutch violin soloist Janine Jansen.

Unexpectedly, both called in sick and were then respectively replaced by the Finish conductor and cellist Susanna Mälkki and the German Christian Tetzlaff.

I can’t deny I was particularly enchanted by the brilliant performance of Mrs. Mälkii – it was no doubt one of the best interpretations of (Strauss’) Also sprach Zarathustra I have heard live. And that was at such short notice. Very well done!

I believe the journey of professional women was never easy regardless of the area and position, but I believe it might have always been particularly harder for maestras. It all started with Mrs. Caduff back in the day, and as the American Marin Alsop says ‘without her (Mrs. Caduff) what I do today would not be possible’. Bravo!

Tchaikovsky: The ultimate essence of the symphony is Life

My first time live with Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony was back in 2010, when the French conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier beautifully conducted the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra at Sala Sao Paulo, in Brazil. It was not when I first heard this masterpiece, but it was certainly that one time when I seriously connected to it in a very deep way. I was lucky enough that a CD recording was made at that very session, enabling me to revive that magical event every now and then.

Tchaikovsky considered naming his 6th Symphony “Program Symphony”, but eventually gave up this idea since he was not willing to share his motivations, what the program was all about. To me, it is enough food for thought to keep on considering its program annotation that reads “the ultimate essence of the symphony is Life”.

Oh life… all about passion, confidence and willingness to go up and beyond. Love and disappointments along the way. And then, eventually, death. In his very words, Tchaikovsky’s soul can be met at the heart of this masterpiece. And it is a soul plenty of passion, fury, melancolia and, at times, serenity.

Always provocative, its execution is coming up this week in London at SouthBank Centre, with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by the Russian Tugan Sokhiev. Not to be missed!

And here I share a beautiful execution of this Symphony, with maestro Zubin Mehta conducting the Münchner Philharmoniker. Bravo!

Understanding some basics: Concerto and Concerto grosso

Concertos are musical works usually written for orchestras and feature a both musically and technically talented soloist or sometimes even a group of soloists. In its more than 300-year history, the designation concerto has been used to describe a large variety of musical pieces.

Here goes three of my favourites that you can explore to appreciate the different work pieces named concertos:

1) Vivaldi’s Four Violin Concerti ‘The Four Seasons‘, Opus 8 (1723-25) – here beautifully executed by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin:

2) Liszt’s Piano Concerto Nr 1 in E-flat major, S.124 (1849) – with one of the finest pianists ever, Mrs. Martha Argerich:

3) Elliot Carter’s Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano with two Chamber Orchestras (1961)

On a separate note, Concerto grosso is more often used to refer to baroque compositions (1600-1750s) where a group of solo instruments establishes a conversation and are accompanied by an orchestra.

If you feel like appreciating how it sounds, here goes another suggestion: one of the oldest works in this arena, Händel’s Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, Nr 4, in A minor, HWV 322, written between 1739-40 – and considered one of his finest:

More to come on other music work formats. See ya!

Music to the… eyes?!

The intention was to share a bit of my experience shooting the NYE fireworks in London. But then, I could not help but think of the incredible ballet of images as if they we part of a great Sonata… So, how about you imagine the sound of the fireworks, mixed with sounds of happiness all around, and bells from a distant church? Now, here you have a couple of pictures to help setting the scene… 🙂

1. Prelude – Allegro appassionato

NYE 2014 @ London Eye
NYE 2014 @ London Eye – 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Andante un poco adagio – Allegretto grazioso

NYE @ London Eye - 2
NYE @ London Eye – 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Finale – Allegro vivace!

IMG_3334

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 2015! 🙂

Night and Day in Sao Paulo

Last evening we took advantage of the beautiful moon shining above us in order to start off testing our new camera lens. It is being a while since we finally got to the conclusion that “depth” was precisely the characteristic that was missing in our night shots. More to come.

For now and to celebrate this beautiful dusk today I decided to post two shots taken with my iphone. And because night and day brings me Frank Sinatra, why not close this post with a “petite cadeau” from the master? 🙂

There you are: first, the shots…

… Moonlight as of October 29th and sunset as of October 30th – both taken from a balcony at Brooklin, Sao Paulo, Brazil…

night-and-day-out2014… and now the master: Frank Sinatra singing Night and Day, in a version of 1957. Good evening! 🙂

Eudoxia de Barros interpreta Kabalevsky

No fim de semana tive o prazer de assistir a um dos muitos concertos da pianista paulista Sra. Eudóxia de Barros, em um dos meus cantos preferidos para ouvir piano na cidade: a sala de recitais do Museu Brasileiro da Escultura, o MuBE. No programa, um extenso colorido de tintas de compositores nacionais, aos quais a pianista dedica sua vida como intérprete, diligentemente na missão de divulgar a brasilidade de suas notas.

Das 11 peças escolhidas para compor o programa do recital, 4 delas lhes foram especialmente dedicadas pelos compositores Ernst Mahle (Tocatina), Sousa Lima (Preludio Nr. 10), Camargo Guarnieri (Estudo Nr. 10) e Antonio Ribeiro (Estudo Nr. 02).

Sua interpretação estivera brilhante e vigorosa, como em minha lembrança de outros recitais dela. Nesta ocasião, fiquei particularmente impressionada com a Sonata Opus 46, Nr. 03, composta em 1946, pelo russo Dimitri Kabalevsky (1904-1987): precisa, colorida, e vigorosa na medida em que a peça o exige. Linda interpretação! Arrancou uma acalorada salva de palmas da plateia atenta, e diga-se de passagem, bastante mais numerosa que minha experiência habitual na série de recitais de piano do MuBE.

Outra surpresa veio no bis: a Grande Fantasia Triunfal sobre o Hino Nacional Brasileiro, de Gottschalk. Bastante apropriado para a ocasião, um domingo de eleição presidencial no Brasil.

Infelizmente não encontrei no Youtube nenhuma gravação desta grande pianista executando a peça do compositor russo, então para fechar, deixo aqui com vocês uma gravação de 2001, realizada na Universidade do Arizona, com o pianista Joshua Hillmann. Boa audição!

Musical Sudoku

My friends do know I am passionate about resolving sudoku puzzles. Maybe not as much as I am about concert music nevertheless. So they just sent me one of those interesting ideas combining both worlds: a musical sudoku! I found it super cool and here I am sharing it with you at LesAmis. Have fun!

musicsudoku

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rules:

  • You can use the notes C-C#-D-D#-E-F-Gb-Ab-Bb-B
  • No enharmonics
Credit: Music Whiz’s Blog! (http://musicwhizs.blogspot.de)

‎#throwbackthursday‬

Me deparei hoje com várias organizações e pessoas postando fotos antigas com a hashtag #‎throwbackthursday‬. Aqui vai minha parte na brincadeira do dia.

Para quem nunca ouviu falar, ‎#throwbackthursday‬ nada mais é do que uma referência usada especialmente nas redes sociais, para marcar postagens de fotos antigas (throwback) e o Thursday uma referência ao dia da semana quinta-feira. É isso, as pessoas usam esta hashtag para marcar fotos antigas postadas na quinta-feira.

1956-first-sketch-BPhilEste é o sketch de 1956, do prédio da Sala de Concerto da Filarmônica de Berlin, desenhado pelo arquiteto alemão Hans Scharoun. Este desenho faz parte da história arquitetônica do prédio e o original está armazenado no arquivo da Academia de Arte de Berlin.

Ele representa um ponto de vista de quem olha para baixo, a partir do teto da sala de concerto. Até certa medida, é possível perceber nos traços as diferenças na altura e profundidade da alocação de assentos da plateia. Mas a grande inovação introduzida por este projeto foi ter colocado a orquestra no centro, observável de praticamente todos os “lados” da sala.

E só para deixar a brincadeira mais interessante, aqui abaixo uma fotografia de tomada interna da sala principal de concerto da Filarmônica de Berlin. Uma espécie de antes e depois 🙂

 

É isso. Fica aqui então meu #tbt #throwbackthursday