Philharmonia Orchestra brings virtual reality to Southbank Centre

28 January 2016, 10:00 | Updated: 31 May 2016, 16:24

Philharmonia Orchestra virtual reality

Details of Southbank Centre's 2016-17 season are out - and it includes a virtual reality symphony and a major new festival with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski.

Philharmonia Orchestra - Classic FM's Orchestra on Tour - and its Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen will launch Southbank Centre's 2016-17 season by transforming the Royal Festival Hall into a digital wonderland.  

In what is billed as "the first major virtual reality initiative from a UK symphony orchestra", the audience will be able to experience a 360°, 3D video and audio performance via virtual reality (VR) headsets, available for free in the foyer on the opening weekend. 

Users will be transported to a virtual Royal Festival Hall, where they can sit in the middle of the Philharmonia Orchestra as it performs the third movement of Sibelius Symphony No. 5 with Salonen conducting.

As part of a "digital residency", Philharmonia Orchestra will also bring their 'Universe of Sound' installation to the Royal Festival Hall. This is Holst's The Planets performed in a giant dome containing 37 screens, a conductor pod where people can conduct the orchestra, and a percussion area where visitors can play along. 

Belief and Beyond Belief, featuring the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Built around eight themed weekends throughout the year, Belief and Beyond Belief explores "what it means to be human in the 21st century", including religion, science and spiritual belief. Concerts by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and its Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski (pictured below) form the classical music backbone of the festival with repertoire including Haydn, Strauss, Kancheli and Glass. 

Vladimir Jurowski

More 2016-17 highlights

  • An International Orchestra Series features Southbank Centre Associate Artists Marin Alsop and Colin Currie, who premieres a new concerto by Mark Anthony Turnage, Sir Antonio Pappano and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Iván Fischer and Budapest Festival Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Cape Town Opera and more.
  • A focus on great pianists throughout the season including Pierre ­Laurent Aimard, Martha Argerich, Maurizio Pollini, Yuja Wang, and the start of a three­-year collaboration with Mitsuko Uchida.
  • Aurora Orchestra presents Kreutzer vs Kreutzer, Laura Wade’s play set to music by Janáček and Beethoven, with actors Samuel West and Katherine Parkinson.
  • The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment collaborates with outstanding artists such as Isabelle Faust and Sarah Connolly, looks afresh at Bach with Masaaki Suzuki and Ottavio Dantone, and takes a journey into unusual French repertoire with William Christie and Michael Spyres.
  • A new year­-long series, Film Scores Live, culminates in a weekend dedicated to the films of Alfred Hitchcock, including the London premiere of the live score to Vertigo.