22 Aug 2012
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The New Zealand String Quartet is changing the way audiences can access and participate in its recitals: its latest offering of Beethoven’s Late Quartets on 7 and 8 September will be available to the world online in real time and free of charge.
As with the first two parts of its Beethoven! The Complete String Quartets series, performed in February through to May, Part Three: The Late Quartets will be streaming live through the NZSQ’s website in September.
Anyone with access to a computer is invited to join the live stream from St Mary of the Angels Church in Wellington, an experience that comes tantalizingly close to having a seat among the concert patrons.
Rose Campbell, NZSQ Trust Manager, says that live streaming means the quartet’s international following can join the audience. Importantly, for local audiences, it also provides “an ideal opportunity to increase accessibility” for disabled, low-income or regionally based music lovers in all parts of New Zealand.
The first webcasting in February as part the New Zealand International Arts Festival programme resulted in an audience of 2500 tuning in around the world.
Among the Facebook comments from its webcast in May were:
“This was fantastic - bravi tutti and let's do it again.”
“Good night & thx for making my day.”
“Cue sound of Canadian cyber-clapping.”
“Bravi - what a great concert! Thank so much for making it possible to share halfway around the world LIVE!!!'
Rose, a member of the Arts for All Wellington Network set up by Arts Access Aotearoa in partnership with Creative New Zealand and the Wellington City Council, says that the multimedia option is a “fantastic offering” providing access to the NZSQ’s music.
However, she doesn’t believe that live streaming will result in fewer people attending the actual physical recitals.
“Live streaming will never replace the total experience of live music, where an audience can share the intimacy of a performance with their companions and with the musicians,” she says.
“But it does offer another dimension to a concert experience through the up-close and person eye of the camera and the capable ears of digital media.”
Radio New Zealand, already recording sound at concerts for live or later broadcast, is providing its resources for the NZSQ’s video broadcasts. Thanks to the skills of information technology guru and network pioneer Richard Naylor, a high-quality, real-time recital feed has become a reality.
Using up to six cameras, Richard is able to capture the performances with great intimacy. Facial expressions and the cohesion within the ensemble can be seen from angles and distances unavailable to audiences physically present at the recital.
Virtual audience members can also interact during the recital via Facebook, where they can post feedback about the experience and ensure a problem-free experience.
Beethoven’s String Quartets 12–16 will be performed over two recitals and toured through six main centres, culminating in the streamed performances at 6.30pm on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 September. Access to the streams will be available through the NZSQ website [www.nzsq.co.nz]. Sign up to its newsletter to be notified as soon as they become available.