Symphony: An Unprecedented Journey into the Heart of Music under the direction of Gustavo Dadamel | Atalayar

Presented today by the Mayor of Córdoba, Jose Maria Peledo, the Commercial Director of the Caixa Bank in Northeastern Andalusia, Amador Carmona, the delegate of the “La Caixa” Foundation in Andalusia, Yolanda López, and the project advisor, Marcel Gorgory. symphonyA virtual journey into the heart of classical music. Symphony, promoted by the “la Caixa” Foundation, in collaboration with director Gustavo Dudamel, has been awarded one of the European Heritage Awards promoted by Europa Nostra and the European Union in the category Education, Training and Skills. Symphony recently won Thea Awards, a record-breaking event in the entertainment industry, received Thea Award for Outstanding Directing – Immersive Experience, and at the 40th Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF Immersed 2021), and was named Best Live Action Movie. In addition, the project received a special mention at the end of September at the International Film Festival in Guanajuato, Mexico, and in July it reached the final at the 74th International Cannes Film Festival in the category Cannes XR – Marché du film pour les virtual reality films.

for the first time, Spectators will be able to place themselves in the center of a symphony orchestra in this immersive virtual reality experience. Which, after its premiere at CosmoCaixa (Barcelona), arrives in Cordoba as part of a tour that will cover one hundred cities in Spain and Portugal for ten years.

The starting point for the project, which we have been working on for more than four years, was to talk about the emotional power of music from a media point of view. From the start, La Caixa has chosen virtual reality as the best way to tell this story. Advanced technologies have facilitated what would not otherwise be possible: Sitting next to a large symphony orchestra violin while they play Beethoven. The goal is to appeal to all audiences, including those who are already familiar with classical music.

Symphony consists of two movable units that unfold and transform into two rooms of 100 square meters each. In the first, the panoramic film introduces the viewer to the journey and guides them alone through the sounds. The second module is dedicated to a virtual reality experience.

When the viewer wears glasses, he sees that his surroundings have suddenly changed. You are now in the Gran Teatro del Liceo, seated in a chair and welcomed by Maestro Gustavo Dudamel, the soul of the Gustavo Dudamel Foundation. You will then find yourself surrounded by symphony orchestra musicians, all silent, waiting for the signal of the conductor, who will actively begin Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The four famous notes that begin this symphony mark the beginning of the experiment.

The spectator will see the musicians distributed around the stage in their usual form, by families of strings, wind, brass, and percussion, and they will feel very close in a real way, while fully feeling the energy and look of the conductor. It is located directly in front of him. This musical experience will have you turning your head side to side and top to bottom to gain new perspectives and perspectives for a symphony orchestra and its instrumentalists.

Designed and promoted by the La Caixa Foundation, in collaboration with the Córdoba City Council, this mobile project offers the possibility to understand, through images and music, how, from the simplicity of a piece of wood or the coarseness of a piece of metal, one can build a world as sophisticated and beautiful as Being a symphony orchestra. In this way, the symphony deconstructs the orchestra to show its simplicity, which contrasts with the endless arc of resources it provides composers to express thoughts and emotions. The experience provides the user with emotionally active listening : Thanks to the 360-degree camera’s changing position within the orchestra, the spectator will hear and feel the music in a new and surprising way and will experience different musical instrument combinations.

Symphony sound was recorded using the latest technology. Pictured is rehearsing at Liceu with conductor Gustavo Dudamel

An immersive two-part experience

This immersive experience lasts about forty minutes and is divided into two parts. It begins with a panoramic film projection and continues with a leap into virtual reality that allows a 360-degree view of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, led by Dudamel, and recorded at the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona.

The projection takes place in two non-folding units of 100 square meters each: the first space is dedicated to showing a movie on the big screen (12 minutes) and the second for a virtual reality movie (12 minutes). The first area will provide an audio and visual prelude to the virtual experience. It’s a wordless movie where voice and music drive the story. Its goal is to create an opportunity to learn about the soundscapes that surround us every day and everywhere.

Three young musicians from around the world are the stars of this premiere, touring Colombia, New York and the Mediterranean coast.. By representing the sounds and music of the places they live in, we can understand how each relates to the sounds and music of their environment. Through this mosaic of contrasts, the viewer will discover how these random sounds, thanks to human ingenuity, become music, thus connecting different cultures.

After watching this first audiovisual film, viewers will be able to access the musical experience in an immersive reality through virtual reality devices. After listening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and watching Gustavo Dudamel from the front row, the experience will move to another space: the luthier’s workshop. There, the audience will be able to hear the sound of the wood as it is carved by the hands of the craftsman making the stringed instruments, before entering the violin he is working on, and afterwards, inside the trumpet.

Emphasizing the emotional force of music, the spectator will be accompanied by the opening melody of Gustav Mahler’s first symphony, in an intimate and privileged setting, to end this journey, always with the orchestra, who now plays the hilarious mambo from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side story.

Caixa Fondation
Igor Cortadelas, Symphony Project Director, A virtual journey into the heart of classical music, during the filming of the film

More than 250 people participated in the project

The original idea for the project came four years ago from the music department of the La Caixa Foundation, which entrusted the artistic direction of musician and creative Igor Cortadellas.. He was responsible for writing the script and researching the appropriate technology. Musical direction was entrusted to conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who was responsible for validating and completing this ambitious project. Since then, a competition has been organized to develop the artistic part, which was won by the digital animation, post-production and visual effects company Glassworks from Barcelona.

Once this company joined the project, it chose London-based studio Visualize to carry out work related to virtual reality, thanks to its experience in this sector.. Both companies, under the leadership of Igor Cortadelas and his IgorStudio team, oversaw production planning and created tools to improve the pre-production and production process. One of the main challenges they faced was deciding where to place the 360-degree camera while shooting. To find the most natural and realistic view of scenes inside the orchestra, they created a 3D instrument through software to know in advance where the camera is in the theater, and what you’ll see.

Final shooting took place at the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona in August 2019 using a Meta One camera prototype created for the occasion, which allowed them to record scenes in low light and with greater dynamic range than any other 360-degree camera, thanks to its lightness and compact size compared to the rest. . This allowed the orchestra to be recorded more closely and intimately.

Symphony sound was recorded using the latest technology. Network audio has been used to minimize cable lengths. One cable carried a total of 84 channels of 96 kHz, 24-bit audio. The same microphone setup used the latest 3D recording technology. All instrument clusters were meticulously recorded using a combination of high-quality digital and analog microphones to recreate all the nuances of the orchestra and create a 360-degree experience, which accompanies the viewer’s gaze.

In total, More than 250 people worked and collaborated to make this project a reality. Among them, a hundred people are in the technical field; From Lothair David Bagoy, under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel, to the 60 exceptional guides of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and to 41 young artists from the Gustavo Dudamel Foundation, representing citizens of 22 countries on 5 continents (from the United States, progressing from Hong Kong, Japan, Spain, Norway, Venezuela, Colombia and Korea and Sweden, France and Argentina) masterpieces from the classical repertoire, while expanding access to music and the arts for young people, providing them with the tools and opportunities to shape their creative futures.

Caixa Fondation
Symphony will tour a hundred cities in Spain and Portugal for ten years

Technology at the service of creativity

The visual concept of this virtual reality experience combines real image captured in 360 degrees (live motion) with computer-generated imagery (CGI) and VFX visual effects, which Recreating dreamlike universes also inspired by nature to complement the beauty of the experience.

graphic sequences Hold As the flight progresses, multiple layers and textures overlap and adapt to changes in the outcome to make the flight more dynamic.

Caixa Fondation
After four years of production, the “La Caixa” Foundation launched this emotional experience around the world through virtual reality technology

Crowds and additional measures in the event of a pandemic

Le projet Symphony est une expérience éducative, culturelle et ludique destinée à tous les publics à partir de 8 ans, qui n’implique pas de mouvement physique de la part de l’utilisateur, car son objectif principal est d’encourager de l’éco Music. Due to the virtual reality technology itself, and as a recommendation, there are certain restrictions, such as those for children under 8 and people with epilepsy or vertigo, among others.

Due to the health crisis caused by the Corona virus, The organization has taken all necessary health measures to ensure that this experiment is safe. Cleaning has been enhanced and a UV disinfection system has been installed in both units. This disinfection system is effective both in the ambient air and on all surfaces of the treated places, as it rids them of pollutants and pathogens.

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