As the pandemic reshaped many facets of musical entertainment, it became increasingly clear that new avenues must be paved to perform and enjoy live music. To make the most of a bad situation, new methods of concert production were employed to aid musicians affected by the pandemic, increasing ensembles’ connections to their audiences and allowing them to continue programming seamlessly.
In the beginning…
The Portland Symphony Orchestra, for example, began working with the PARMA production team in Fall 2020, utilizing digital performances to continue their season and increase funds when in-person concerts were not safe to produce.
PARMA worked closely with the PSO to establish a game plan that would ensure project’s success, including the capture of multi track high definition audio and immersive multi-camera video. A large part of the project’s success, according to Senior A&R Representative Chris Robinson, comes from the minds of PARMA’s producers and videographers.
“It’s really no surprise how successful this collaboration has been, given the collective talent of everyone involved. Ty [Ueda] is a professional with years of experience and a clear artistic vision, Brad [Michel] has several Grammy Awards to his name as an engineer and producer, and the Portland Symphony Orchestra is second to none, as an ensemble and as an organization. It’s a perfect pairing.”
– Chris Robinson, PARMA Senior A&R Representative
Working with the PSO’s rich sound, PARMA channeled the tradition and technique surrounding classical music recording and took care in creating appropriate balance and reverb to resemble the organic sounds of live performances. From a visual standpoint, PARMA videographer Ty Ueda expressed great excitement in taking a new approach to film the PSO’s concerts.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring new standards to broadcast television. We’re starting to see advancements in the cinematography for broadcast, which allows us to move away from those old studio standards. I think that you’ll see a visual quality to our work that sets us apart.”
– Ty Ueda, PARMA Videographer
PARMA captured the experience of being in the audience with panning cameras to foster an intimate and immersive experience. Thanks to recent technological advances, the team was able to create a visually compelling product within the orchestra’s budget.
After a nine-month stretch of performances, The PSO successfully wrapped up their first digital season, bringing music to audiences at home in a safe and exciting way. At the end of the season, PSO’s Director of Artistic Operations, Eva Tartaglia, shared her thoughts on the experience.
“We have received nothing but thrilled responses so far to our opening program, and this is a massive victory for the PSO… The results are excellent and we have a lot of very, very happy donors.”
– Eva Tartaglia, PSO Director of Artistic Operations
After a successful season of solely digital presentations, the PSO has returned for their 2021-2022 season in collaboration with PARMA with live audience members attending concerts, a big leap forward in the return to regularly scheduled concert programming during the pandemic.
However, the pandemic is still present in the United States, still limiting many individuals from attending large gatherings in person, and the demand of digital performances remains strong. A new challenge is hereby presented, in which cameras must be strategically placed to capture the most flattering angles of the performance without hindering the live audience members’ immersion.
This season, PARMA is producing audio and video of various PSO concert programs, with PARMA production team members on-site once a month until June 2022. For those who miss the show in person, the audio and video captured from the live performance are uploaded to the PSO website as a digital concert series, available to view via ticket purchase for a full month following the concert date. This ensures everyone the opportunity to tune in at a time and location that best suits them.
A wide breadth of concert repertoire will echo throughout the concert hall this season, and thanks to the studio-quality audio and cinematic video capabilities that PARMA employs, these sounds can be accessed anywhere.
Stay on the lookout for these in-person and digital concerts: Poulenc’s Organ Concerto, Ekart Conducts Bartók, Barber and Brahms, Music of Motown, Classic Broadway, and more through July.