classicLive Launches Internet Concerts

In the inbox this morning:

classicLive sells tickets for Internet concerts by top world orchestras

classicLive is a new Internet portal – an international network offering live concerts by some of the world’s finest orchestras. The system requirement for this service providing TV-standard images and almost CD-standard sound is broadband access of only 1Mb. Access for the portal concerts at www.classiclive.com can be purchased online by credit card per day, week and 30 days.

classicLive is a unique concept providing access to many great orchestras via a single portal. The first classicLive concert webcast will be from the Sibelius Festival in Lahti, Finland on September 6, when the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under its Chief Conductor Osmo Vänskä will be performing the Kullervo Symphony by Jean Sibelius. All orchestral concerts from the festival will be streamed live and concert webcasts continue throughout the season.

The second orchestra to appear on classicLive, on September 25, will be the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra under General Music Director Zoltán Kocsis. In addition to works by Bartók and Brahms the concert will include Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 3 with Alexei Volodin as the soloist.

Along with these two orchestras, a Letter of Intent has been signed by the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic. Other possible partners include the Philharmonia Orchestra from London, the Mariinsky Theatre and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Each classicLive concert will first be streamed live via the Internet all over the world. Following brief editing it will then be visible and audible on demand at any time during the next three weeks. The rapid repertoire turnover will thus maintain interest in the portal among classicLive subscribers.

“The short-range objective is to create a limited premier classicLive league of no more than15 orchestras,” says Tuomas Kinberg, General Manager of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. “There will be mainly one orchestra from each country. One thing the members of this organically-growing network will have in common is that they will all be among the very finest orchestras their country has to offer. We are very proud to be part of this network.”

Osmo Vänskä, also Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, considers this service a historical moment. “classicLive offers a platform where, for the first time, great, dynamic orchestras can provide concerts to music lovers around the world.”

“No doubt, we are writing music history,” Géza Kovács the Director General of the Hungarian National Philharmonic agrees. “Nowadays when we often feel that classical music is in danger and when more and more people use Internet, classicLive offers real value for millions of people. We are proud to be a member of this ‘exclusive club’ where the main rule is to give people the joy of music on the highest level.”

classicLive is the first major commercial producer of classical music content on the Internet. The pioneering nature is what appeals to the number-one ensembles in various countries. David Whelton, Managing Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra says:

“As the first orchestra to present a live concert webcast, the Philharmonia Orchestra is delighted to offer its support to classicLive in launching this exciting new initiative, which will bring the highest quality live concerts to a new global audience. We are in very positive discussions with classicLive about becoming active partners in this project and wish them every success.”

Roy McEwan, Managing Director of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, said:

“classicLive opens up a whole range of exciting opportunities in bringing classical music of the highest quality to audiences across the world. We wish this adventurous new initiative well on its launch and look forward to exploring further the prospects of being part of classicLive”.

Valery Gergiev, the Artistic & General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, emphasises the importance of reaching the global audiences:

“The Mariinsky Theatre supports all efforts to overcome the obstacles of distance and borders, to bring performances of great music to the doorsteps of faraway audiences.”

“The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is very excited at the chance of being involved in classicLive,” says Executive and Artistic Director Stefan Forsberg. “The idea of providing concerts on the web corresponds completely with our ambition of being an orchestra in touch with the future. We are thrilled at the possibility to make the music of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic accessible to as many people as possible worldwide.”

classicLive offers new potential in the field of music education, as Pieter Pryck, the Manager of Artistic Department of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, says:

“classicLive is the most fascinating and modern medium to bring classical music to everybody; young people especially.”

Conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste, who will begin as Artistic Advisor of the Lahti Symphony in 2008, sees the value of classicLive as new approach to the concert tradition.

“I am glad to participate in this visionary effort that will bring classical music to music lovers and new audiences all over the world. This exciting new media format will show classical music as part of our daily life and will help to generate new audiences.”

Main responsibility for the service lies with Saltarello Ltd. The technical platform and operations are being supplied by TietoEnator Corp., another Finnish company.

“We have developed the concept for the classicLive portal, the visual image and the streaming technology in close partnership with Saltarello,” reports Kalle Simola, Consultant, from TietoEnator Digital Innovations. “Designing this unique subscriber service has been both interesting and challenging, combining the planning of a good consumer experience, our streaming technology know-how and the construction of the portal’s technical platform.”

Each network orchestra will be responsible for the initial production of its Internet concert streaming videos in accordance with the high artistic and technical quality specifications applying to portal concerts. The portal language is English.

5 thoughts on “classicLive Launches Internet Concerts

  1. I’m curious … did you try it? I did. There are bugs in the program, or at least there were for me. The video would repeat. If I closed the window, the music continued and only stopped because I quit the browser. (I was using Safari.) When I pressed pause the music would pause but then start again, and if I then pressed play there would be two recordings playing out of sync. I emailed the folks to fill them in on my problems, but the didn’t reply.

    Ah well.

  2. I hadn’t tried any of the videos Patty (to be honest I hadn’t realised there were any – I thought they weren’t starting up until September?) but that’s some useful feedback. I hope they get back to you – if the site doesn’t work in something as outré as (ahem) Safari, then they might have problems…

  3. Wow! what a dream idea- quite epoch-making. Have been dying to hear Alexei Volodin since 2000 when I thought he should have won handsdown the Sydney International. The guy is a pianists dream, poetic and brimming with musical exuberance, depth, vitality and vigour.
    Unfortunately the sample hearing was a bit of a disappointment. Heard all of the Haydn excerpt, except that it came in bits and pieces though complete
    Will do all I can to rectify these impediments
    Recordings are really no match for live concerts of this kind.
    Best wishes for your continued success
    Dr Basil Jayatilaka
    Perth
    W.Australia

  4. Hey

    Thank you for the informative blog entry. I have new information regarding the Mac/Safari case which I’ve updated to the classicLive website (requirements, FAQ), and although I replied Patty’s email, it could be that the information would be useful here as well🙂

    At the moment, we cannot guarantee perfect video compatibility with Mac and we are aware of Mac related technical problems (especially with Safari browser). However, we are committed to improving the classicLive experience for Mac users.

    Currently we recommend Mac users to use Firefox. Flip4Mac components must be installed as well. With Firefox, video playback has notable video buffering delay in the beginning of the video but after that it seems to work fine. The delay before the playback starts can be minutes in the worst cases.

    We hope Mac users are patient while we try to improve the service, but your feedback is useful so in case of any problems, please contact us.

    Jenni/classicLive customer care coordinator

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