HoloAbbado In 3D

Here at Arts Journal, they featured a story in the Miami Herald about a proposal from MIT students and The Cisneros Group that proposed the following high tech feature be incorporated into the new Miami Performing Arts Center: “a three-dimensional hologram of Claudio Abbado, the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, transmitted in real time, via Internet, from Germany, conducting the New World Symphony”. Or as I like to call it: Star Trek Geeks + An Orchestra = Cool Ideas


Being an avid Star Trek geek for many years, this idea instantly appeals to me. And it’s obvious that the MIT students have watched the same Star Trek episodes as I have which feature a room called the “Holodeck”; a specially outfitted but otherwise empty room which can create both solid props and characters as well as holographic background to evoke any vista, any scenario, and any personality (thanks to startrek.com for that definition).


In several of the Star Trek Voyager episodes, they feature an opera singing holographic character that teaches a part-human-part-cyborg how to play piano. Although it’s nice to see that music will still have some place in the future, it’s a little depressing to only find that machines and holograms take an active interest in it.


Unfortunately, the immediate impact of the MIT idea is only appealing on an initial level and it wouldn’t amount to more than a “really cool” feature.  But all ideas need to start somewhere and if they can find someone to “pony up the dough” for the project than I say it’s a worthwhile endeavor. You never know, maybe this technology will let Daniel Barenboim stay in Berlin while fulfilling the need to participate more in Chicago.  Perhaps you can be in two places at once – beam me up Scotty…

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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