BWW Feature: THE FUTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC IS 'INSIDEOUT' with Maestro David Bernard
I have seen the future of Classical Concert-Going and it is called INSIDE OUT!
Two years ago, Maestro David Bernard began an experiment in classical concert-going. He had a bold new idea to intimately integrate the audience directly into the concert by literally seating them within the orchestra among the musicians -the idea being to create a totally immersive symphonic experience. Two years and more than a dozen performances later, the experiment has been a success on every level. Thousands of spellbound audience members can attest to the visceral power of live music performed by a 60-piece orchestra on all sides of you.
As more and more arts organizations around the country (and the world) seek out new ways to attract and maintain the interest of new audiences, David Bernard has done the impossible, he has come up with an innovative way to make a classical music concert fresh, interesting and immensely entertaining to audiences of all ages and all levels of musical knowledge.
"There's electricity between the musicians," said Maestro Bernard. "And you simply cannot feel it unless you are there among them. The sound is dramatically different onstage among the musicians than it is in the audience. There is more than just sound, there is energy! It provides a far deeper connection to the music because there is a 360-degree engagement. It's unlike anything else you have ever experienced and it's something completely new and fresh for even the most experienced concertgoers."
The Immersive concerts are designed to make individual audience members feel as though they are a uniquely personal part of the performance, that they are participants and not merely spectators.
The critics are united in one loud voice - an unqualified rave!
"David Bernard is transforming the traditional concert experience... the seats are with the players themselves, in the thick of the violins or right next to a harp. There's no separation here, just a mass of pumping hears in a singular musical communion." - WQXR Classical Radio
"What if orchestra seats meant you sat in the orchestra? Sounds great - right? I mean - it sounds great!... I loved it!" - Stephanie Simon, New York One television
"With its creative approach, the InsideOut model has created a sense of excitement within the orchestral music scene. David Bernard is on to something that may just be a formidable recipe for one of classical music's triumphant feats: a three-dimensional tactic to steer not only his orchestra, but the audience's perception." - Get Classical
"Checking out some Holst and Ligeti, sandwiched between the violas and the French horns...The looks of surprise and delight when the women's chorus entered, unannounced, at the end of 'Neptune' was fabulous... and by no means limited to just the kids. And holy cow... Ligeti's 'Atmosphères' sounds EVEN MORE AMAZING when you're in among the players." - Steve Smith, music critic, commenting as an audience member.
But what do audiences say?
"I felt every note. I could hear everything and could see the faces of the musicians. It was fantastic." Andrea Arroyo, audience member
"The concert was so majestic, the music made me feel wonderful." 8-year-old audience member
"Definitely a more immersive experience, more intimate, and really made it easier to connect with the musicians." Leana Johnson, audience member
"Amazing... I got to hear a level of detail that I've never heard before, and I've gone to a lot of concerts." Damaso Reyes, audience member
"You got to see (the conductor's every expression) so you went on this journey with him, and then the orchestra around you, it was incredible!" Maya Dillon, audience member
INSIDE OUT is the perfect solution to a society that has become more and more disconnected and passive. Maestro Bernard, spiritually. "It's impossible to describe the sensation, when you pour yourself into the music and it comes back at you ten-fold. I really believed that if audiences could feel just a little bit of that magic, they'd get hungry for it and come back again and again."
Maestro Bernard will bring INSIDE OUT back to the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony in New York City (as part of the orchestra's twentieth anniversary celebrations), a first public concert with the Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra, and a debut with the Danbury Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut in 2020.
The full schedule is as follows:
• Danbury Symphony Orchestra, October 26th 2019: Dvorak New WorldSymphony, Danbury Music Centre
• Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, November 23rd 2019: 'Sounds Of America' (Barber Adagio For Strings, Copland Appalachian Spring Suite, Copland Clarinet Concerto - soloist Jon Manasse, Bernstein Symphonic Dances from West Side Story), DiMenna Center for Classical Music; family event is at 2pm on the 23rd and the full event is at 5pm.
• Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, February 8th 2020: 'Wolfgang's World' (exploring Mozart's life through his music / selected works), DiMenna Center for Classical Music, family event
• Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, February 8th 2020: 'Wolfgang's World' 'Wolfgang's World' (exploring Mozart's life through his music / selected works) DiMenna Center for Classical Music, full works event
• Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra, March 22nd 2020: Mozart selected works. private education event
• Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra, May 3rd 2020: Mussorgsky, Pictures At An Exhibition, Berner Middle School
It's being called: "A CLASSICAL CONCERT EXPERIENCE THAT IS BETTER THAN IMAX AND SENSURROUND COMBINED!" Two years ago, I called the Inside/Out concerts nothing short of a classical revolution and they have exceeded all my expectations as a critic. They are performance, promotion, outreach and education all wrapped up in one.
On a very personal note, my wife, a fairly jaded New York concert-goes turned to me after the last concert and said: "You know, if I had attended one of these Inside/Out concerts when I was a kid, I would absolutely have taken music lessons, and possibly have become a musician."
That is the kind of impact these concerts are having. No other concert series in New York - or probably anywhere - can say that.
The Inside/Out concept is one who's time has come. Few. if any, classical music experiences on the scene today can compare with the raw energy and excitement of the InsideOut concerts. Whether you are a serious classical music afficianado, a casual fan, an educator or a student, once you have experienced an InsideOut concert, you will become a disciple.