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BBC Philharmonic and Salford University launches series of free concerts

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3, announced today at the Radio Festival that the BBC Philharmonic is launching an innovative new series of interactive concerts that are set to change the way people experience an orchestra.

Organised in partnership with the University of Salford, ‘The Red Brick Sessions’ are a series of nine free concerts due to be performed at the university’s newly renovated Peel Hall.

Using ground breaking new technology from BBC Research & Development, the concerts will create a more immersive musical experience for audiences both in the venue and across the country. The performance and interval discussion will feature in an enhanced live video stream on the BBC Philharmonic website, which will enable the audience to delve closer into the orchestra with the chance to zoom into specific sections of the orchestra, receive synced information about the music and even view a live orchestral score.

The concert audience are invited to bring their mobiles and tablets with them to access this information whilst they enjoy a drink and the performance. BBC presenter Elizabeth Alker (BBC Radio 6 Music and Radio 3) will host an interval discussion before the music is performed again for a BBC Radio 3 recording.

The Red Brick Sessions’ will feature new and rarely performed pieces by Thomas Larcher, Tansy Davies and Ligeti, alongside more familiar orchestral pieces.

The first enhanced live streams will take place from the beginning of October.

Simon Webb, BBC Philharmonic General Manager, said: “This is the next step in the BBC Philharmonic’s collaborative relationship with the City of Salford, working in partnership with its university and council to develop the city’s cultural offering. For this series we’re throwing out the rule book:  Join Elizabeth Alker and turn on your devices, grab a drink and experience the music. Whether you’re a lifelong musician or you’ve never seen an orchestra before, the sessions will offer you something new.”

Bruce Weir, Senior Technologist, BBC R&D, said: “Those watching online and via their phones or tablets will be able to enjoy and explore the orchestra like never before. The enhanced video stream is a project we’ve had in development for a few years now, and it gives people more control and lets them be guided by their curiosity. For example if somebody is particularly enjoying the string section of the orchestra, they’ll be able to pull-up information and learn more, or zoom into that area and listen to the sound from that section alone.”

The performances will be streamed live on the BBC Philharmonic website and will be available for 30 days after broadcast. The concerts will also be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

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