Classical music and cutting-edge technology are about to collide. This week, the Los Angeles Philharmonic is bringing classical music into the 21st century and onto the streets of Los Angeles with a new virtual reality concert app.
The app drops the viewer right into the middle of an L.A. Philharmonic performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Instead of watching as an audience member, you’re standing between conductor Gustavo Dudamel and his orchestra as they launch into the piece. You can watch the musicians up close as they play, catch the intense focus on Dudamel’s face as he leads, or hone in on the computer-generated images that have been created to complement the piece. The virtual reality experience, which will be released for Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR headsets, allows the viewer to control the way he or she takes in the concert—and with a full orchestra at work, there’s plenty to observe.
According to WIRED, the new app is an attempt by the L.A. Philharmonic to introduce classical music to new audiences, and bring their performances to fans who can’t make it to live shows at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Digital director Amy Seidenwurm told WIRED, “We’re an organization dedicated to the art form—we need people to know that they like it.”
In addition to the VR app, the L.A. Philharmonic has built a virtual reality-equipped van, appropriately named VAN Beethoven, which will bring the concert to the people of Los Angeles. VAN Beethoven not only plays the Beethoven’s Fifth concert, but has been fully outfitted to look like the interior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall—so while the concert hall seats and carpeting make you feel like you’re really in the audience, the VR headsets put you on stage with the orchestra.