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L.A. Philharmonic Experiments with Virtual Reality in Classical Music

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Oct 09, 2015

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has launched a virtual reality initiative that allows users to experience Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 with a headset and goggles. The project, dubbed Van Beethoven, involves a bus equipped with the virtual reality technology that is set to tour the county through October.

"Honestly, it's an experiment right now. We're going to see how the city responds to it," said Amy Seidenwurm, the orchestra's director of digital initiatives. "It's for people who don't like classical music, to show them how it can be part of their life."

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Using the headsets, the viewer watches from the orchestra section of Disney Hall as conductor Gustavo Dudamel leads the L.A. Phil in the famous movement. Turning one's head from side to side, or up and down, provides different views of the concert hall. The perspective shifts partway through the performance so that the viewer is behind the orchestra, facing the conductor.”

Experiments with virtual reality have also been rolled out by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in Australia. The group sees it as an opportunity not only to build audience engagement, but also as a tool for “marketing and branding.”

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