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Visuals in the Concert Hall


  1. a curious reader says:

    i think that using visuals can be effective, but you cannot do it every time out — it becomes tacky, and plain annoying. I went to a concert of holst’s the planets and the orchestra had video/still images from nasa of the different planets that went along with the music. pretty effective. however i couldnt imagine coming back to see the sibelius violin concerto with images of finland behind the player -_-

  2. Or an animated video of polar bears dancing a polonaise to the last movement of the Sibelius concerto? I generally agree with the sentiments here about visuals at symphony concerts. There’s a trend of getting too literal, I think, and forgetting that our own imaginations can come up with pretty powerful mental images when listening to certain music. On the other hand, I saw and heard an amazing concert by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra a few years ago when they played various works by Philip Glass set to a lively progression of photographs by Franz Lanting. It worked very well. I know there are opinions about Glass, but maybe a lot of his music is suited to having accompanying visuals.

  3. JJ Abernathy says:

    I value your take on this timely subject. As our symphony orchestra is finalizing our programming for next season, this is a topic our board and artistic director frequently discuss. How much visual is too much? We have a first rate venue in our area called Tuacahn Center for the Performing Arts–subtitled “Broadway in the Desert,” an outdoor amphitheatre nestled against rugged red cliffs. They put on various Broadway musicals with lots of glitz and pizazz– and some believe we are competing with them for the entertainment dollar so we need to have more special effects in our programming.
    Ah–what is the balance?

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