To the Rescue This Year: The People Who Put Orchestras Online

Across the country, fall concerts were saved by staff whose work shifted rapidly from promotional videos to high-quality broadcasts.

By Joshua Barone,

”Before the pandemic, classical livestreams in the United States were rare, though not entirely absent: For example, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has, in recent years, made its exemplary programming widely accessible. But ensembles abroad have a richer online history. The Berlin Philharmonic entered lockdown with a well-established library on its Digital Concert Hall platform, and many performance spaces throughout Europe have long been capable of mass dissemination.

… Gone, in the world of streaming, is the typical timeline for a performance. A traditional subscription concert, for example, may have been preceded by a few days of rehearsal; then, once the musicians took their bows, it was over. Now there is more work before and after. In the extreme case of “Throughline” in San Francisco, the program took thousands of hours to make. Features, like interviews with artists, are filmed and edited in advance. For the performance itself, Mr. Geelhoed, the digital initiatives director in Detroit, spends up to five hours studying a score before blocking the camerawork. Michael Vendeland, the director of Cleveland’s concert series In Focus, which streams on Adella, uses a spreadsheet to map out his shots — as many as 500 for a single concert.

… Many orchestras have wound down their virtual performances for the fall, but plan to return after the start of the new year — with lessons learned from the first months. There are not just aesthetic questions to consider. Is there a way for them to make money? Should they be presented on a proprietary platform like Cleveland’s Adella?

One tool may help administrators arrive at an answer: analytics.“

Source: The New York Times