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The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) has launched a piece filmed at its Classics Unwrapped series online via YouTube and Facebook 360, and now audiences can view the ASO in virtual reality from anywhere.

In this innovative concert-going experience, audiences move around the concert hall and experience 360-degree views of the orchestra with immersive sound to view and hear over 60 Adelaide Symphony Orchestra musicians on stage performing Sibelius’ stirring symphonic poem, Finlandia.

Audiences can now use their smart phone, Mac or PC as well as their own VR headset, or Google’s VR device ‘Google Cardboard’ to view the ASO’s Virtual Reality Concert. The vision is as realistic as it gets and gives regular fans a new way to enjoy a concert. The aim is to create appeal for a new generation of music lovers.

In September 2015 the ASO made international news when The LA Times reported, “This summer, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in Australia initiated a VR concert series captured during a live performance”.

This innovative digital project is part of the ASO’s world-leading partnership with Adelaide-based company Jumpgate Virtual Reality who first captured this footage during the ASO’s Classics Unwrapped concert at the Adelaide Town Hall in May 2015 using a small camera tree comprising 16 GoPro cameras.

Last year, as part of a week-long display at the headquarters of ASO Principal Partner Santos in June and subsequent demonstrations at the Adelaide Film Festival in October, audiences had the chance to test this incredible technology, by wearing virtual reality headsets, they could see and hear ASO performances.

ASO Managing Director, Vincent Ciccarello said the response from the general public was overwhelming.

“One ASO subscriber adored the experience – and even brought a copy of the score to read while she enjoyed the ‘virtual’ ASO concert,” he said.

"It's quite a mind-blowing experience, being able to be actually a part of the orchestra, seemingly a member of the orchestra with the violins to one side, woodwind behind you, and then the brass and double basses and cellos to the left of you.

"To be able to hear it in surround sound through headphones, you really feel like you're in the middle of it. It takes you out of your everyday and disrupts your world view, momentarily.

"We're hoping it'll give a much deeper, more immersive experience for people who perhaps have already dabbled in orchestral music but just want to enhance that experience."

Jumpgate VR Managing Director Anton Andreacchio said, “It's been fantastic working with the ASO as there is a real interest in using virtual reality to reach new audiences and create unique experiences. Right from the start they saw the value of the technology and we're excited for what lies ahead”.

Mr Ciccarello said the state-of-the-art technology had potential beyond concert performances.

“The technology could also be used in music education, with students able to experience all aspects of a concert through the headsets, while being directed to pay attention to particular features such as individual instruments or themes.

“We see it as an opportunity to introduce people to the world of orchestral music mediated by the latest technology. Given that technology is playing such an important role in the delivery of all forms of entertainment, we want to embrace that,” he said.

How do I view the ASO in virtual reality?

Here are some options:

Find the ASO Virtual Reality concert on YouTube or Facebook, move around the concert hall by:

•    Moving your smart phone
•    Clicking and dragging your mouse on the video using your Mac or PC
•    Using your own VR headset or Google’s VR device ‘Google Cardboard’


This piece was written by the ASO's Publications & Communications Coordinator, Michelle Robins and was first published in the May 2016 edition of SOMA's Senza Sord magazine.


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