Five top orchestras loop their selfies through Google

Five top orchestras loop their selfies through Google


norman lebrecht

June 16, 2015

A coalition of five orchestras has forged a new outlet called Classical Live on Google Play Music. The project does what it says on the brand: it offers recordings of live performances through a specialist classical wing of the giant Google machine.

The participating orchestras and conductors are:

Cleveland Orchestra & Music Director Franz Welser-Möst; Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons; London Symphony Orchestra; Sir John Eliot Gardiner; New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Mariss Jansons.

The LSO is the only one not offering performances by its music director; the Concertgebouw offers only concerts by its former music director. The initiative is curated by Jessica Lustig of 21C Media Group.

Andris Nelsons calls it ‘an extraordinary moment as I begin my new musical life with the wonderful Boston Symphony Orchestra.’ Gary Hanson of the Cleveland Orchestra said the ‘new platform promises a prominent place for the latest orchestral performances world-wide. For Cleveland, “Classical Live” will meaningfully complement our ongoing program of radio broadcasts and televised concerts, and our regular CD and DVD releases.’




Before you get too excited, a preliminary search shows a charge of £4-8 in the UK (apparently $4.99 in the US) to download a full symphony from GooglePlay. Click here for Classical-Live. The site is still in development, as is the business model.




  • Gerald Stein says:

    Am I to understand that the only download version offered of these performances is mp3? Is the degraded sound quality of this format to be the new standard by which these orchestras want us to hear and judge them?