January 08, 2019
The Erie Philharmonic unveiled its Virtual Reality Orchestra project today, offering a new innovative opportunity for people to experience the orchestra. The Virtual Reality Orchestra provides a 360-degree look into an Erie Philharmonic performance from multiple sections within the orchestra. Patrons wear an Oculus Rift headset to view the performance in high definition video. Video for the project was recorded during the 2017-18 season finale, and multiple community partners came together to see this project through to completion: The Erie Community Foundation, Erie Arts & Culture, the Black Family Foundation, Mega Media Factory, Erie Innovation District and Whitethorn Digital. The project was inspired by Philharmonia Orchestra, who pioneered the virtual reality (VR) orchestra experience in the United Kingdom.
“The Erie Philharmonic is a tremendous asset to this region. It's terrific to see an organization that has served the community for more than 100 years developing new methods and technologies to reach a wider audience,” says Patrick Fisher, Executive Director of Erie Arts & Culture. “We are proud to support this initiative, and we hope the Virtual Orchestra inspires a wave of innovative cultural programming to sweep through Erie County.”
The Erie Innovation District is also excited for the fusion of arts and technology the project provides. “This fusion results in a new and different experience for the participant moving from observation to participation in the orchestral moment.” said Karl Sanchack, President and CEO, Erie Innovation District. “The Erie Philharmonic is leveraging VR technology to connect both new and existing audiences to music culture."
With the help of Whitethorn Digital, the project is portable in two separate all-in-one suitcases. The Erie Philharmonic plans to bring these mobile units to local schools, concerts in the Warner Theatre and travel to events across Erie and beyond. The Virtual Orchestra’s first school visit will be to one of the elementary schools within Erie’s Public Schools.
“As an orchestra that’s always looking to reinvent itself, we are excited for this opportunity to present the Philharmonic in an entirely new, high-tech fashion, allowing us to reach audiences young and old in a ground-breaking new way,” says Erie Philharmonic Executive Director Steve Weiser. “For the first time, as an audience member, you’ll be able to experience what it is like to sit on stage surrounded by 80 of the best musicians in our region. It really is a powerful feeling.” Weiser also noted that this is the first stage of the project. In the future, the Virtual Orchestra will include interactive games, additional concerts, and educational features.
The Virtual Orchestra will be available to ticketholders for the Erie Philharmonic’s concert on Saturday, January 26. It will be available both pre-concert from 7-8 pm and during intermission in the Warner Theatre lobby. As additional Virtual Orchestra events and locations are confirmed, they will be announced on the Erie Philharmonic’s Facebook page.
To schedule an interview, receive additional information, or try a demonstration, please contact Brigit Stack at firstname.lastname@example.org.