The Mahler Chamber Orchestra performs in different interactive settings in its virtual reality concerts. Photo courtesy of Princeton University Concerts, Youtube.

In Wednesday’s (1/31) Princetonian (Princeton, NJ), Chloe Lau writes, “The Mahler Chamber Orchestra, a … nomadic ensemble [based in Berlin] known for performing everything from Viennese classical and early Romantic periods to contemporary works, hosted four classical concerts from January 18 to 21 … The audience could move around, over, under, and even through the musicians, thanks to virtual reality. This was the North American premiere of the concert experience, which was pre-recorded in two historic Berlin churches over the span of three years. Seconds after strapping on a bulky white headset, I found myself in the dimly lit St. Elisabeth-Kirche. Five musicians materialized before me, their facial features and figures clearly outlined. As Mozart’s Allegro from String Quintet in G Minor, K. 516 started, the sound quality startled me: the notes’ slight echo made me feel as though I were actually in the old church. The volume of each instrument adjusted according to my proximity. I crouched by the first violin for the piercing melodies, put my ear under the cello to hear the steady bassline … The Mahler Chamber Orchestra’s VR concerts provided an intimate view into each part of the orchestra.” The other works on the program were Ives’ “Unanswered Question” and Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”