Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the orchestra

Digital Takeover of the Royal Festival Hall

23rd SEPTEMBER - 2nd OCTOBER 2016


“An extraordinary glimpse inside the sights and sounds of a symphony orchestra”

The Guardian

“Violinists' bows are so close you flinch”

Evening Standard

“To outside observers it may look comical, but from under the headseat it is thrilling”

The Independent

To celebrate this new partnership with the Southbank Centre, the Philharmonia will be celebrating their wider digital work with a takeover of the Royal Festival Hall. In the first major VR production from a UK symphony orchestra, viewers will be able to experience a 360° 3D video & audio performance via VR headsets, available to view for free in the foyer spaces on the opening weekend of the season (in collaboration with technology company Inition).

Universe of Sound logo

The Philharmonia will transform the foyer by bringing its award-winning walk-through installation of Holst’s The Planets, Universe of Sound, on to the Clore Ballroom in the Royal Festival Hall for two weeks (23 September – 2 October). The installation invites the public to step inside another virtual Philharmonia, using giant visual displays, touch screens, unconventional projecting surfaces, movement-based interaction and planetarium-style projections to encourage visitors to participate as musicians, conductors, arrangers and composers.

Binaural microphones
3D audio experience

The Philharmonia and Salonen have been experimenting with VR since early 2015, with a focus on developing a convincing 3D audio experience, to combine with the 3D video to create a more immersive experience. Using bespoke binaural microphones, the viewer will feel the audio move around them as they turn their head, so that they can focus on a particular player, section or hear the detail of the score pages turning.

In Partnership with...

View of the southbank with fishbowl lens

Virtual Reality...

For years, the Philharmonia’s large-scale digital productions RE-RITE and Universe of Sound have been putting people at the heart of a symphony orchestra. Virtual Reality is the next natural step in this concept.

Cellist playing backstage (photo with fishbowl lens)

The Philharmonia have entered into a partnership with the Southbank Centre and London Virtual Reality specialists Inition to create a virtual reality experience that transports viewers to the South bank in London...

Esa-Pekka Salonen backstage (photo with fishbowl lens)

...and then backstage into the Royal Festival Hall with Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen as he prepares for – and then conducts - a performance of Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony.