iOrchestra

iOrchestra is a huge programme of installations, events, live concerts and more, which combines the latest digital technology with live performance.

Young or old, or somewhere in between...
whether you’ve never heard a note of classical music, or are an experienced musician yourself...
or even if you prefer other types of music...
there’s an iOrchestra experience waiting for you.

Between April and July 2014, more than 45,000 people across Plymouth, Torbay and Cornwall - including 10,000 local schoolchildren - enjoyed FREE iOrchestra events, from our immersive digital installation RE-RITE, to workshops in our touring digital music trailer MusicLab and live concerts. We will be back with more special events in 2015, including a brand new interactive digital music installation in the Big Tent, Universe of Sound, based on Holst's The Planets:

  • Plymouth: April/May
  • Torbay: May/June
  • Cornwall: June/July

The Tent

At the heart of iOrchestra are the Philharmonia Orchestra's award-winning digital “virtual orchestra” installations, starting in 2014 with RE-RITE and then in 2015, Universe of Sound.

Based on composer Igor Stravinsky’s fantastic ballet score The Rite of Spring, RE-RITE is a large-scale walk-through experience that offers visitors the chance to step inside an orchestra, to feel the sensation of being among more than 100 expert musicians and experience the thrill of walking among them, via giant projections, surround sound and interactive stations dotted throughout the installation. Explore the gallery or watch the film to learn more about RE-RITE.

Universe of Sound is an extraordinary free interactive digital installation, allowing you to explore an orchestra from the inside out as they perform Holst’s The Planets. Using giant visual displays, touch screens, unconventional projecting surfaces, movement-based interaction and planetarium-style projections, you can take part as musicians, conductors, arrangers and composers. The installation also features a new companion piece to The Planets, by composer Joby Talbot, called Worlds, Stars, Systems, Infinity. To find out more, watch our Universe of Sound film.

Full dates and locations will be announced on this site: visit us again to see them, or register with our myOrchestra scheme to receive regular newsletters and discounts on local music events, and to be the first to hear about the dates and times for iOrchestra 2015.

Did you come and see iOrchestra this year? Would you like to share your experiences and tell us what you thought? Want to know more about what we're up to right now, and what our partners are doing too? Join us on Facebook orTwitter and be part of the iOrchestra conversation.

MusicLab

MusicLab is a new pop-up digital installation touring to communities across Plymouth, Torbay and Cornwall. To see what it's like inside, watch our MusicLab trailer, here.

Using cutting edge digital technology and innovative interactive design, MusicLab offers a series of hands-on musical games and interactions, designed to put the visitor in the shoes of a composer, performer and producer. MusicLab is visiting communities in each region in the weeks leading up to and during RE-RITE. There will be opportunities for schools and community groups to sign-up to special tours of MusicLab as well as activities for other local groups and open visit times for the general public.

Housed in a 13.5m purpose-built trailer, the Philharmonia Orchestra has developed a flexible, pop-up orchestral experience that can reach targeted communities in Plymouth, Torbay and Cornwall. Using cutting-edge digital technology and innovative interactive design, MusicLab offers a series of hands-on musical experiences and interactions, designed to put you in the shoes of a composer, performer, producer and conductor. 

Where & When

MusicLab is touring to locations around Plymouth, Torbay and Cornwall as follows:

  • Plymouth: April/May
  • Torbay: May/June
  • Cornwall: June/July 

Inside MusicLab

The Chorus Booth replicates the experience of stepping inside a studio, where anyone can record themselves singing, humming or whistling, adding their contribution to existing recordings from others before them accompanied by an orchestra. A short snippet of music will be played through the headphones, which the visitor is prompted to imitate. Over time, your voice will form part of a chorus of a hundred voices accompanying an orchestra!

Hi5! is based on the 'MaKey MaKey' invention in which the human body is used as a low current conductor for triggering audio samples. By choosing an instrument and a technique, two or more people can high-five each other in order to trigger different sounds from the many different combinations!

The Instruments give the visitor a chance to play an orchestral instrument from each of the four sections of the orchestra in an educational and fun experience. A real cello, clarinet, French horn and timpani are available, each with integrated sensors making them playable even if the visitor has never touched the instrument before!

The Video Bench is where 8 or more people can sit down and choose from a variety of specially curated short films that will take them on a journey through the Philharmonia Orchestra, ranging from instrument guides, behind-the-scenes videos from the recording of game and film soundtracks, through to interviews with star performers and conductors.

The Console is where visitors can play, mix and manipulate orchestral sounds as part of an ensemble. There are two different modes: ‘freestyle’ which allows the visitor to choose and play an orchestral instrument freely, and ‘orchestra’ which allows the visitor to control and manipulate a section in a multi-channel recording of Gustav Holst’s The Planets.

The Mini Stage provides a versatile and intimate performance space for musicians to play to a small audience, or to conduct workshops and tutorials.

Live Concerts & Schools Concerts

In 2014, on the final day of each RE-RITE installation in Plymouth (11 May), Torbay (8 June) and Truro (13 July), the full Philharmonia Orchestra presented a free, hour-long, open air Sunday afternoon concert at the RE-RITE site. Presented by Tim Steiner, the concert, A Traveller’s Guide, consisted of a specially chosen programme to appeal to families and those new to orchestral music, all around the theme of transport and destinations. We heard the music of DambustersRomeo & Juliet, theBlue DanubePirates of the Caribbean as well as a few surprises in between!

We're still planning our 2015 events but please check back later to find out what's on when.

Schools Concerts

Following on from the Sunday afternoon public concerts, the following morning in each region, the Philharmonia presented a special concert for schools based on its successful Orchestra Unwrapped Series that takes place each year in Leicester and Basingstoke. 2015 plans are still in the pipeline but please check back later to find out more.

Find out more about Orchestra Unwrapped here.

The 2014 resource pack for Schools Leaders and Community Leaders is available here.

What Our Visitors Said...​

"Magic. Just go" (Roger Philp, 6 June 2014)

"Opens a new world of sound, so much to see, hear and feel" (Virginia Marsh, 6 June 2014)

"It’s an orchestra like you’ve never seen before – “deconstructed”. Very different" (Tracey Cabache, 6 June 2014)

"It’s a really exciting way to experience an orchestra for the first, or hundredth, time" (Jill Bird, 7 June 2014)

"The closest a non-musician might get to playing in an orchestra and an inspiration to young future musicians" (anon, 5 May 2014)

"Totally gripping experience of being inside the powerhouse of the orchestra and the music" (Joy Gleeson, 4 June 2014)

"Very good for people with profound disabilities – a good sensory experience" (anon, 5 May 2014)

"It takes you into the guts of what an orchestra is all about" (anon, 5 May 2014)

iOrchestra Consortium

The Philharmonia Orchestra has developed iOrchestra in close collaboration with a consortium of local partners, who will work together with the Orchestra to deliver the project and to ensure that it becomes a genuine catalyst for cultural change, reaching the communities for whom it has been designed. These include Plymouth City Council, Torbay Council, Truro City Council, Torbay Music Service, Plymouth Youth Music Service, Cornwall Learning, i-DAT and Hall for Cornwall.

iOrchestra has been core funded by Arts Council England through its Strategic Touring Programmme.

More Information

For further information, and to get involved, please contact our Project Coordinators in each location:

Plymouth: Gemma Ward (gemma.ward@philharmonia.co.uk / 07943 377 301)
Torbay: Laura Forster (laura.forster@philharmonia.co.uk / 07943 376 893)
Cornwall: Fflur Huysmans (fflur.huysmans@philharmonia.co.uk / 020 7921 3916)