Buckeye Broadband Underwrites High-definition Screens for All Toledo Symphony Classics Concerts at the Peristyle Theater

Published Monday, September 25, 2017 8:00 am

The Toledo Symphony announced on Wednesday that it will expand its popular “TSO in HD” program to its entire Classics series at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater for the upcoming 2017-2018 season. The expansion is made possible by a major grant from Buckeye Broadband.

The TSO in HD program installs large, high-definition screens on either side of the Peristyle stage. This allows audiences to view live footage of the concert as the orchestra performs. Close-up shots follow major themes in the music and reveal rare, on-stage perspectives to concertgoers.

The technology debuted in 2015 at a special Gala featuring world-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell. Audiences will next have the opportunity to see TSO in HD in action at the orchestra’s opening weekend, September 29 and 30, 2017, at the Peristyle.

At each concert, the Toledo Symphony’s Chief Artistic Officer and President Emeritus, Robert Bell, will work with a team of producers and on-stage cameramen from WGTE Public Media. Together, the team works from a conductor’s score and cues the cameras to create the real-time video feed.

Due to the high costs of labor and technology, current funding allows the Toledo Symphony to provide TSO in HD at just one Classics weekend and three educational programs each season. Thanks to a grant from Buckeye Broadband, the Toledo Symphony will be able to present TSO in HD at all of its Classics performances at the Peristyle, from September 2017 to May 2018.

“Buckeye is proud to be the TSO in HD technology sponsor and enhance the concert experience for the entire Peristyle audience,” says Bonnie Ash, Director of Community Affairs at Buckeye Broadband. The value of Buckeye Broadband’s funding has not been disclosed.

“The TSO in HD concept has become very popular,” says Zak Vassar, President and CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “In the traditional setup, the audience’s view is limited to the first couple rows of musicians – mostly violinists and cellists. The HD screens provide close-up views of the percussion, brass, woodwinds, and conductor, so audiences can appreciate how talented our musicians really are.” He adds, “It’s a wholly unique use of technology in the concert hall. I’m not aware of any other orchestra that uses real-time videography at its performances.”

TSO in HD also has an educational component. Last January, for example, audiences were treated to virtuosic performances by Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs. Cameras captured his performance from all vantage points, including an innovative “foot cam” that was trained on his feet as he maneuvered a keyboard of foot pedals. 

“I think the screens help audiences to grasp musical texture better and understand how instruments work,” said Vassar. “Overall, the screens allow listeners to become viewers, which is vital to the live concert experience. We are thankful to Buckeye Broadband for enabling us to expand this rich and dynamic program to all of our Peristyle performances.”

This season, audiences can see TSO in HD in a line-up of familiar symphonic masterpieces – most of which the orchestra has not performed in many years. Peristyle performances will present favorite compositions by Beethoven, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Brahms, Dvořák, Holst, Strauss, Berlioz, Rachmaninoff, Ellington, Mahler, and Bernstein.

All performances will take place at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater. Pre-concert lectures begin at 7 p.m., and performances begin at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Student rush tickets are available for $5 at the door. Parking at the Museum is free for members and $7 for non-members. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Toledo Symphony Box Office at 419-246-8000 or visit toledosymphony.com.

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