After a sought-after concert last year with Mitsuko Uchida, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra returns to Princeton in 2024. Only this time, no one has to travel: the MCO will showcase their performances in Virtual Reality. So far, the orchestra has produced three different pieces of music in VR. Each one of these pieces highlights a different aspect of music in VR. The first piece is a movement from a String Quintet by Mozart, that shows the possibility of spatial audio. In this piece, the audience can unravel the density of Mozart's harmonics. Walking around the performing musicians, aided by a VR headset, you can get closer to the individual players than you could have ever imagined. The closeness allows the audience to identify the unique voices that form the tapestry of Mozart's genius.
The second installation is based on a composition by Charles Ives. In The Unanswered Question, Ives already built a spatial element into the composition by separating the instruments in the performance space. In virtual reality, this element is fortified by not only separating but also moving the players around as they appear and disappear for their musical entries.
The third piece where we can witness the MCO in virtual reality is the Suite from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Combining digital technology with the dreamscape created by the composer and Shakespeare highlights the endless creative possibilities of the project. It also shows a full orchestra, whereas the first pieces have a chamber music cast.
Our virtual reality series is a project that came to life in collaboration with our Artistic Partner for Immersive Experiences Henrik Oppermann/Schallgeber.
Learn more about our adventures in VR through this link.