Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra continues to invent ways to connect with new audiences and push the boundaries of what one expects from live orchestral music. Last Thursday, HPO introduced a brand new series: Intimate & Immersive.
HPO Executive Director Diana Weir says that Music Director Gemma New, who has been with the HPO for two years now, wanted to “design a format that gave the audience the opportunity to get close to the orchestra, to really feel the power of the music, and of the musicians, and get to know us a little bit better in a different venue that’s not your traditional concert hall experience.”
FirstOntario Studio was structured for a performance that would trigger the senses. The traditional orchestral set was shaken up to be performed in the round, with the audience seated directly in rings around the musicians. So close, in fact, it felt like we were all in an orchestra pit together. I wanted to be holding an instrument just to fit in! We were encouraged to move around any time and to choose different seats during each half of the show. In the second, I was sitting so close to the oboist I could have leaned in and tried to read the score. We couldn’t have been any more immersed in the performance; what a rare opportunity to be so fully part of the experience.