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iPads and Video Feeds – New Life in the Concert Hall

Symphony Hall, Boston

What do some New York organ concerts and the Boston Symphony Orchestra have in common? They both have discovered the power of video. I was a bit surprised the first time that I went to an organ concert at St. Ignatius of Loyola, a great Park Avenue church in New York, and saw a large projection screen set up in the aisle in front of the alter. Huh? But soon we watched the organist high in the organ loft slide onto the organ bench and begin, all projected on the screen. Yes, we listen with our ears, but part of going to a live concert is also the visual aspect of the experience, and it was very nice to be able to see the soloist. The BSO at its Friday casual concerts is handing out iPads with interviews, music scores, etc. , hoping to engage the younger generation that interacts with screens 24/7. In the Huffington Post article the reporter remarked that there was more information than she had time enjoy before the concert, but she noted that what most people loved was the live video feed of the conductor projected on flat screens around the hall. This surely is a view of the conductor that few but musicians see. I think the idea of the iPads is great, though I, too, am not usually early enough to any concert to have time to enjoy all the delicious offerings – perhaps it could change me – but I think that the inclusion of the live feed video is brilliant.

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