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Experience Mahler's Third - Live and in VR

Audiences across the world were able to experience Mahler's Third Symphony, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, on the opening weekend of the Philharmonia Orchestra's 2017/18 classical season, live from the Royal Festival Hall.

Mahler’s Third Symphony forms an epic, six-movement ode to the natural landscape, where ‘nature acquires a voice and tells profound secrets’. 

Voted the tenth-greatest symphony of all time in a survey of conductors carried out by the BBC Music Magazine, the score moves from driving fanfares and marches to a haunting mezzo-soprano solo, before its immense final bars issue a thundering timpani to bring everything to a triumphant standstill.

New live stream and virtual reality project

The Philharmonia Orchestra was commissioned by The Space to capture its concert with Esa-Pekka Salonen on Sunday 1 October 2017 in multi-camera 2D and Virtual Reality, in an innovative filming project that celebrates Salonen’s 10th year as Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor.

The project unfolds over several stages, beginning with the live stream on Sunday 1 October when Mahler’s Third Symphony was live-streamed (in 2D) to online audiences worldwide, via the Southbank Centre’s YouTube channel and also on Facebook Live via The Guardian’s channel. A pre-broadcast feature introduced the concert (from 2.50pm), featuring live interviews and archive footage of the Philharmonia and Salonen.

The concert was also captured in virtual reality for release in November on YouTubeVR, at which point an archive version of the 2D broadcast will be released on YouTube.

This special project marks a historic moment in the life of the Philharmonia Orchestra. Mahler’s Third Symphony is the work that launched Salonen’s 34-year relationship with the Orchestra, when in 1983 he stepped in at late notice – as an unknown young conductor – to conduct the Philharmonia at Royal Festival Hall.

Watch Salonen talking about this special anniversary

The new VR capture will be the third major content release in Virtual Reality from the Philharmonia. Their first VR film, The Virtual Orchestra, is currently being presented, free, at Southbank Centre as part of the Nordic Music Days Festival: The Virtual Orchestra: Sibelius 360. Their second VR film was commissioned by Google, in partnership with NASA, and is currently being showcased across the river in Covent Garden at London’s Raindance VRX Film Festival, for which it has been nominated for a ‘Best Music Experience’ award.