Virtual Virtuosos

Posted on March 7, 2010

Pictures, Pixels and Pages blog praises Manchester Camerata webcast with Venetian ensemble.
“Last night’s Virtual Virtuosos online gig at TEDxWarsaw proved the concept that remote collaboration by musicians in more than two locations (two having been done before) is possible, even if the currently available technology is still leaving more questions than offering answers.

Some months ago when we first began considering the content for our first TEDxWarsaw, I had the somewhat crazy idea that, since we couldn’t afford to bring leading jazz musicians to Warsaw for the gig, we would take the gig to them. The idea grew out of a series of projection gigs my good friend Nigel Gavin and I had done in Auckland a few years back. Nigel’s music,improvised on the spot to the images, worked really well and seemed to take the audience into meditative spaces they enjoyed visiting. It was time to ratchet up the level of difficulty and a TED-like event seemed the logical venue for it. After all, it’s all about going out on the edge and trying out stuff which is very far from being mainstream.

Having got the idea, I needed to implement it so I began to look for the right musicians and the right technological solutions.

To my considerable delight, I very quickly happened on information about the Manchester Camerata collaborating on a trans-continental orchestral performance with the Venetian ensemble Ex Novo. I got in touch with the technology gurus at Manchester Digital (Paul Spensley, Paul Limbrick and Alan Holding) and they suggested that to circumvent the problem of latency we should consider “layering” the music, one instrument – and one location at a time. Brett Sutton, the technology director at Roosevelt University (where Paul holds his “day job” as professor of jazz (how cool is that??) joined us in trying to make this work.”

To read the whole blog, click here