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LiveNote, the Latest Orchestra Star, Is Really Something to Watch!

October 16, 2014

“Awesome!” … “Totally enhanced the experience!” … “I’d definitely use it again!” These are just a few of the comments heard after Tuesday night’s Free College Concert inaugurating the brand new LiveNoteTM app. It’s designed to enhance the concert experience by letting audience members use their mobile devices to learn more about the music, in real time. And judging by the enthusiastic reception, LiveNote’s debut performance was a big success. You can choose from two streams, one focusing on the story behind the music, the other offering insights into the music itself. It’s synced to the live performance, so you always know exactly what’s going on. You may have heard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story a zillion times … but did you know Lenny was mixing Schoenbergian 12-tone techniques and classic Bach-style fugues into his Broadway score about the Jets and the Sharks? LiveNote knows! And what’s that eerie sound coming out of the brass sections in Jennifer Higdon’s atmospheric blue cathedral? LiveNote has the answer: The players are rubbing a finger around the rim of a wineglass!

Photo by Pete Checchia

Of course, all this digital magic enhancement is in the service of music … and what glorious music! Under the leadership of Assistant Conductor Lio Kuokman (in his Verizon Hall debut), the Fabulous Philadelphians delivered their trademark inspired musicianship on the Bernstein and Higdon, as well as Rimsky-Korsakov’s vibrant Capriccio espagnol; selections from Michael Daugherty’s Reflections on the Mississippi, featuring Principal Tuba Carol Jantsch’s dazzling, soulful virtuosity; and a rousing, rascally rendition of Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks.

Photo by Pete Checchia

The system worked flawlessly, thanks to extensive testing by the Orchestra and its partners, the technical wizards at Drexel University, who developed the app. Whether they were using LiveNote or not, the audience members were enthralled by the Orchestra’s performance, sitting in “pin-drop” silence for a moment after each piece before exploding into vigorous applause. Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore explains, “LiveNote is the latest initiative to experiment with harnessing the power of technology in service to the power of music, and we look forward to working with our audiences as we test and evolve this long-nurtured application.” LiveNote comes back for an encore at subscription concerts this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (on two of the three pieces the Orchestra will perform: Dvořák’s The Golden Spinning Wheel and Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass.) Download LiveNote now, from the iTunes store or Google Play. You can learn more about LiveNote here. And when you bring your smartphone or tablet to the concert, be prepared to shout “bravo!”