The Philadelphia Orchestra could end up in pictures.
And sound. In a deal with SpectiCast and Bryn Mawr Film Institute, nine of the orchestra's 2010-11 concerts will be offered live starting this fall to North American movie houses with high-quality projection and audio systems.
SpectiCast is already simulcasting Philadelphia Orchestra concerts to about 55 assisted living and community centers in Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, California, Illinois and Wisconsin, and is utilizing BMFI's familiarity with theaters and film societies to expand the audience, said SpectiCast president Mark Rupp.
The moving of orchestral music into movie theaters follows a similar effort started by the Metropolitan Opera in 2006.
"There is a market out there for this. The Met proved this," said Rupp. "There are audiences willing to view stuff like this."
SpectiCast's chairman is Philadelphia Orchestra board member Derek Pew. The company also simulcasts concerts from the Curtis Institute of Music and lectures from the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Under the arrangement with the orchestra, SpectiCast provides the production and technology, as well as pre-concert chats, and BMFI will help identify potential art-movie houses. A revenue-share arrangement splits proceeds among the partners, including the orchestra, Rupp said.
Rupp said his company was also looking to sign colleges and universities as subscribers to the series, and would consider taking on a sponsor, whose support could be acknowledged with either a "presented by" credit, or in the form of a commercial that would run before the concert. This aspect of the plan is similar to one previously developed, but not executed, by orchestra leaders.
The goal is to have 100 subscribers by the first simulcast of the season, in October. But as for the total potential number of movies houses, Rupp said, "We think there may be a thousand who may be interested in this kind of content."
Addendum: From Berlin, it's a trend.