Humans 1 Virtual Orchestra 0

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by jcmacman, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. jcmacman

    jcmacman Pianissimo User

    Dec 10, 2003
    Now to get rid of those digital bugles!

    NEW YORK (AP) - The Opera Company of Brooklyn will no longer use a computer that replicates an orchestra in place of live musicians. A deal reached with the musicians' union explicitly bans the use of the computer, known as a virtual orchestra machine, or any other type of synthetic music, the union and opera announced Monday.

    "This isn't just a victory for live music and talented artists, but a victory for the audience as well," David Lennon, president of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, said in a telephone interview.

    Jay Meetze, president of the OCB, said the union had agreed to help his small company raise funds and arrange an affordable fee structure. "While we would like to pay our orchestral players, our opera singers come first and (the union) knows that," Meetze said.

    When the cash-strapped opera decided to use the machine - first for a one-time performance of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" last August and again for "Figaro" this month - the tiny company was launched into the middle of an ongoing debate about whether the machines will crowd out live musicians.

    The virtual orchestra's makers, Realtime Music Solutions, say that the machines are intended to be used in conjunction with live musicians in situations where using a full orchestra is impossible, like in a theater with a small pit, or in a production with a very small budget.

    Not so, said Lennon: "This machine is designed for one purpose, which is to replace live musicians with a machine to enable producers to make greater profits while diminishing a cherished art form." He said the union intends to fight the machine's use anywhere.

    Virtual orchestras became a major point of contention since a four-day strike last winter by Broadway musicians in response to theater producers' proposal to reduce the minimum number of orchestra players.

    To keep shows afloat, producers planned to use virtual orchestras. That never happened because actors' and technicians' unions eventually joined the strike, forcing most Broadway shows to shutter completely.

    A similar debate is going on in London's West End, where producers have discussed replacing musicians in a production of "Les Miserables" when it moves to a smaller theater.


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    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana

    Memories of RiverDance.


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