GENEVA, February 21st, 2024 – The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande gave the first hologram symphony concert! As part of the 12th edition of the artgenève fair, 73 OSR musicians appeared in hologram form to perform the Pictures at an Exhibition by Moussorgski: a technological feat never before achieved for a symphony orchestra, made possible thanks to collaboration with the company Cyberl’Art. In all, some 4,500 people were able to attend these extraordinary performances. It was an unprecedented experience, taking a new step forward in the history of classical music broadcasting.

New stages

While the world of music, and the stage in particular, is gradually being populated by holograms of Maria Callas, ABBA and Elvis Presley among others, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande is not just seeing a new form of staging. In fact, without seeking to replace the Orchestra live, this first holographic experience now makes it possible to break down physical barriers and take it where it could not go before. The advantage of the hologram is that it can be performed on different scales, dispensing with requirements such as a 150 m2 stage, thus opening up new possibilities and increasing the number of venues where it can be performed.

A new teaching tool

The matrix of the Orchestra thus created will enable an interactive video to be produced, allowing us to enter the music stands and explore the movements and fingerings of the musicians from previously inaccessible angles. Available in 2024 on the OSR website, this innovative educational tool will enable the public to interact with the Orchestra and discover it in a way that no other orchestra offers to date.

An immersive experience thanks to the augmented reality headset

A new aspect of the project involves developing an application to open up the OSR experience even further: using a virtual reality headset, a very wide audience – including people with so-called “disabilities” – will be able to immerse themselves in the Orchestra, wander around and experience classical music in a different way.

From one paradigm to another

In 1954, the OSR made the very first stereophonic symphonic recording, under the baton of its titular conductor and founder Ernest Ansermet, making the Orchestra a pioneer in the field. Then, in 2006, in partnership with Radio Télévision Suisse, the OSR was the first in Switzerland to make three of its concerts available for free download from its website in MP3 format; a success, since the storm of 50,000 contacts caused the server to break down! This year, the Orchestra is once again experimenting with a new means of broadcasting. Sound recording and the development of recording and broadcasting techniques are determining factors in the history of musical practices, experience and modes of reception. The OSR is delighted with this world first, marking not only a milestone in the field of ArtTech but also redefining the way in which we experience music.

World premiere on 24 January 2024, at artgenève: the OSR in hologram. © Magali Dougados.