The Digital Concert Hall of the Berliner Philharmoniker forges a new relationship with Sony

James Jolly3rd Sep 2012
The Philharmonie in Berlin (Photo: Archiv Berliner Philharmoniker)The Philharmonie in Berlin (Photo: Archiv Berliner Philharmoniker)

The Berliner Philharmoniker and Sony Corporation have signed a new agreement, announced at the International Consumer Electronics Fair (IFA) in Berlin, which will take the orchestra's Digital Concert Hall to a new audience – and in new 4K2K high-definition resolution.

A specially recorded performance – filmed in 4K resolution using Sony's Cinealta f65 cameras with which the Philharmonie has been re-fitted – of Wagner's 'The Ride of the Valkyries', conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, was shown at IFA and certainly impressed the assembled throng of journalists. Direct access to the Digital Concert Hall has been greatly helped with pre-installation on Internet-enabled TVs, Blu-ray disc players and Sony audio systems. Viewers can not only watch concerts live from the Philharmonie in Berlin but can access the increasingly huge digital archive of past concerts featuring the orchestra.

Introducing the enhanced relationship at IFA, Masashi Imamura, president of Sony Corporation's Home Entertainment & Sound Business Group, pointed out that the relation between the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sony dates 'back to when the late Herbert von Karajan and the late Norio Ohga together unveiled the CD to the world. The Berliner Philharmoniker have been fostering the ability to perform superior music in the grandest of fashion, while Sony has been cultivating innovation in sound and video. By combining and further developing these unique and professional strengths, we aim to work with the Berliner Philharmoniker to create entertainment experiences which move the hearts of people around the world.' To which Shigeru Kato, VP and Senior General Manager of Sony's V&S Business Divisions added 'The capacity of the Philharmonie is limited so there are many people who can't go there, but nowadays we have many ways of distributing music to many people. I can't say which is the best way to distribute good music, but in the Digital Concert Hall team we have a partner which shares our vision and together we can pursue this goal.'

Olaf Maninger, principal cellist of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the orchestra's media chairman, spoke of the shared 'conviction that reproducing great performances of classical music needs outstanding audio-visual technology. This has also been our guiding principle in the development of our Digital Concert Hall. Going back into the history our orchestra has always been creative onstage – playing the instruments – and trying to be innovative on the technical side. Really that started with the Karajan era and the embracing of the CD, a format perfectly suited to classical music. And this was one of the visions of Karajan and Ohga who were very close friends. And the connection between Sony and the Berliner Philharmoniker was always there. We always wanted a technical partner for the Digital Concert Hall not only a partner in helping on the technical side, but also in really creating new things. And of course, Sony is, in terms of professional audio equipment and in terms of professional video broadcasting equipment the number one player in the world.'

The 2012/13 season of the Berliner Philharmoniker includes performances under Sir Simon Rattle (including Britten's War Requiem and Tippett's A Child of our Time, as well as music by Lutoslawski, Rachmaninov and Stravinsky), Andris Nelsons, Paavo Järvi, Claudio Abbado, Herbert Blomstedt, Christian Thielemann, Iván Fischer, Myung-Whun Chung, Bernard Haitink and Riccardo Chailly.

For more information on the Digital Concert Hall, visit the Berliner Philharmoniker's DCH website.

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