So today I find myself on a bus for a better part of the day, and with lots of time on my hands, children at daycare, and an electrical outlet for my phone charger, I'm doing what any technology junkie would do: spending the entire drive catching up on articles and video that I've bookmarked!
One thing I keep coming back to is the Digital Concert Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic. The folks in Berlin have done something very smart by outfitting the Philharmonie with a professional television studio and rigging their setup to broadcast all of their concerts live in HD. Another brilliant thing they've done is to feature the talents of Sarah Willis, fourth horn in the orchestra. Besides being a fabulous musician and having her own very successful "horn hangouts" online, Sarah has done a number of interviews that are accessible on the digital concert hall. The Philharmonic recently performed a program featuring a new work for trumpet and orchestra by HK Gruber called Aerial. The soloist was Hakan Hardenburger, for whom the piece was written. I got sucked in to watching an interview that Ms. Willis conducted with Hakan and the program's conductor, Andris Nelsons. I'll just get right to the point, the interview, and Mr. Hardenburger's insight into the process of playing and learning the piece was so fascinating, that I immediately bought a 7-day pass for the digital concert hall and watched the program on my long bus ride. What an amazing concert, soloist, and orchestra!
It's no surprise to anyone that an online digital presence is the future of classical music. Berlin has done it right. Not only can you watch live concerts in HD with fantastic audio quality, but they have an amazing back catalog of concerts, interviews with soloists and conductors, and documentaries about the orchestra. Know I will be binge-watching quite a lot of Berlin Philharmonic concerts over the next 7-days!
As we enter fully the era of constant connectivity and faster internet connections, this type of experience is only going to become more prevalent for all musicians. People fret that the Internet and mobile technology is going to make everyone more detached from their audience. Using the talents of Ms. Willis as an example, I don't think this could be further from the truth! What is now clearly critical is having the ability and desire to speak to an audience, conduct an interview, and otherwise engage people in a personal and informative way. Oh! It's those people skills my parents used to always talk to me about!
I feel fortunate the U.S. Marine Band has begun to live stream many of our own concerts. The band also has some very cool projects on line now, with my favorite being the recording and release of free PDF parts and scores for every March John Philip Sousa ever wrote! Their adding enough that the band is hiring a third full time audio engineer as well.
Ok, back to my looong bus ride and my digital concert hall ticket! If it seems I'm being secretive about where I'm headed, then well, I am! The Marines don't do anything the easy way, and today is no exception. More about our trip later when the cat is out of the bag!