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BY Danae Effern | 14-May-2014
ACO VIRTUAL – Play with the band. A creative collaboration between the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Mod Productions Founding Partner Commonwealth Bank. Imagine standing on stage surrounded by the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s virtuoso musicians, feeling the energy of Artistic Director Richard Tognetti playing his priceless Guarneri del Gesù violin or getting up close to Principal Violinist Satu Vänskä’s Stradivarius.

ACO VIRTUAL, the Australian Chamber Orchestra's world-first digital installation, promises this and more. Fusing digital technologies with visual and sonic innovation, this ground-breaking interactive installation allows the audience to conduct and even play with the ACO. Audiences can see the players' lightning-quick hands in a way not possible in a concert hall, hear the unique sounds of the ACO's multi-million-dollar collection of instruments and feel the rush of being immersed in this "bad ass classical band" (Time Out New York).

Supported by Founding Partner Commonwealth Bank, and built by Sydney digital media Production Company Mod Productions, ACO VIRTUAL uses state-of-the-art video technology and features projections of 13 of the ACO's acclaimed musicians in either 2D or 3D. Audiences are surrounded, with the sound of each musician coming from the direction of their individual projections. A touch-screen "music stand" allows users to spotlight and listen to one musician, a section of instruments or their desired selection of players. Audiences essentially step "inside" a concert and are immersed in a cinematic experience, surrounded by the musicians and manipulating what they hear and see, just like in a video game.

The musical score can be turned on to stream along the bottom of the screen, meaning anyone who plays an instrument can play along with the ACO, even standing in for Richard Tognetti himself. A smartphone application further enriches the experience with information about the music, the ACO musicians and their instruments.

The work runs for 30 minutes and comprises carefully selected music by Bach, Grieg, Smalley and Piazzolla, designed to maximise the opportunity for audience participation. It delivers a unique and inspiring learning environment, giving the residents of and visitors to Yarra Ranges the opportunity to engage with – and learn from – world-class musicians they would not ordinarily have the chance to see performing on stage.

"We are really thrilled to be able to bring this experience to Yarra Ranges and know it will appeal to almost everyone in our community. I personally am really looking forward to getting to see and participate in this amazing new installation when it is with us in July." said Yarra Ranges Mayor Fiona McAllister.


Uninterrupted Lunch Sessions (FREE ENTRY)

From 1.00 – 1.30pm each day the installation's full 30 minute program runs uninterrupted. Grab lunch from the Museum Harvest cafe and eat while you enjoy the show. Admission is free and visitors are welcome to bring their own lunch. Admission to uninterrupted sessions is on a first come, first serve basis


Solo Sessions

Take your ACO experience to the next level by booking an exclusive half hour solo session. Bring your instrument, voice or dance moves and immerse yourself in the installation. Play by yourself, or invite your family or friends to join in! Cost: $50 per half hour session.

Dance with the Band! School Holiday Program

Tuesday 8 July

11am-11.45am for children 5-8 years: Learn some dance moves while immersed in ACO VIRTUAL. Professional dancer, Kristina Hood, will run an interactive ballet workshop based on the installation's full 30-minute program. Cost $15 per participant.

1.30pm-3.30pm for ages 10 years and over: In this two hour workshop, professional dancer Kristina Hood will teach you how to choreograph your own dance to a piece in ACO VIRTUAL. Participants will perform in the installation at the end of the workshop. Cost $25 per participant.

Group Bookings

Looking for an exceptional group experience? For a very limited time the Museum is offering groups the opportunity to enjoy world-class music, food and drinks in the beautiful ACO VIRTUAL installation. Flexible bookings and packages for all ages make ACO VIRTUAL a great idea for a work function, birthday or a special night out with friends.

Bookings: www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/museum or 03 9294 6313

Audiences can experience ACO VIRTUAL at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum (35-37 Castella St, Lilydale - Open 7 days, 10am – 4pm) from Saturday 28 June to Sunday 27 July. Admission is free.