Video still from the San Francisco Symphony’s 2022 “Ligeti: Paradigms” digital program, which combined AI and spatial audio with the music of György Ligeti.

In Wednesday’s (8/23) New York Times, Seth Colter Walls writes, “Recent developments in spatial audio—albums old and new being mixed for immersive formats—have made news in the world of pop…. The idea is to bring the souped-up, three-dimensional feel of large-speaker arrays into your ears. But classical music was there decades ago. Deutsche Grammophon and the Philips label both experimented with ‘Quadraphonic’—or four-channel [recordings]—in the 1970s. More recently, binaural recordings and mixes, designed to simulate that 3-D feel, have been a delight. Now, though, these and other spatial-production practices are enjoying deeper corporate investment, including head-tracking technology … [Years ago], classical composers were bringing spatialized concepts into their creative practice. Even before the comparatively meek technology of two-channel stereo sound was standard in every home, Karlheinz Stockhausen and others were using more complex mixes for works involving electronics or taped elements…. Now, more traditional corners of the classical music world are getting in on spatial audio as well. Leading conductors in the orchestral world—including Riccardo Muti and Esa-Pekka Salonen—have personally approved spatial audio mixes of their recent recordings … The regular players in classical music’s immersive cohort have meanwhile continued to ply their trade.”