A Virtual Orchestra You Can Sit On Outside London's Royal Festival Hall

Classic Arts News   A Virtual Orchestra You Can Sit On Outside London's Royal Festival Hall
Passersby at London's South Bank Centre are being invited to participate in what is being billed as the first "virtual orchestra," reports the BBC.

PLAY.orchestra, a project of the SBC and the Philharmonia Orchestra, was installed last Friday (August 18) on the Riverside Terrace outside the SBC's Royal festival Hall. There, a full-size orchestra stage has laid out on it 56 plastic cubes, each of which is attached to a light and a speaker. When someone sits on a cube a musical note is activated; as people sit down on other cubes, a piece begins to play.

Each week PLAY.orchestra will offer two different pieces, one from the standard repertory and one a new work. (This week's offerings, for instance, are an excerpt from Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony and Anthony Bailey's Chaises Musicales.) People will also be able to send their own sounds, recorded on their cell phones, to the Philharmonia Orchestra. Some of these sounds will be used in a piece of music being composed as part of the new media project.

Alistair Mackie, chairman of the Philharmonia Orchestra, told the BBC, "Central to the Philharmonia Orchestra's vision is exploiting new media to take music out to the widest possible audience, breaking down the barriers which have stood in the way of their access and enjoyment."

PLAY.orchestra will remain in place at the South Bank Centre through October 2. Information about the project is available at

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