Conductor tells audience to turn *on* their phones

At tonight’s Toronto Esprit Orchestra concert, the conductor Alex Pauk will turn to the audience and ask them to switch on their personal devices for a piece called Plug In.

Listeners at Koerner Hall will be asked to download an audio recording and play it whenever Pauk gives the signal.

The recording is a simulation of tropical birds created by the Chinese composer Tan Dun.

Should be interesting.

More here.


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  • Eric Whitacre’s already done this with his piece ‘Deep Field’. Must say I found the whole thing rather gimmicky, but interesting all the same I suppose.

  • Would you be interested if I wrote a mesh networking app to synchronise the thousands of phones in the audience to produce a more sophisticated sound, under the control of a musician in the orchestra? This can now be done easily using recently released libraries.
    Think of the possibilities this would create.
    For starters, all participating phones would be under your control, so no possibility of the phone ringing mid performance. (But there’s always one who didn’t participate..)
    The sound could move wavelike through the audience to create interesting effects.
    Just need a composer to provide the score arranged in space as well as time.

    Too avant garde?
    Never mind, I’ll suggest it elsewhere.

  • Jonny Greenwood did this back in 2014, in his “Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers”, written for the London Contemporary Orchestra. The audience downloaded the free app and could then trigger a number of sounds a limited number of times throughout the piece –
    entirely at their discretion.

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