Detroit Symphony offering series of free webcasts

DETROIT (AP) ? The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has launched a webcast player that will allow music lovers to enjoy an upcoming performance of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4 and other concerts online for free in the comfort of their homes.

More than 30,000 people from over 40 countries are expected to view Saturday’s high-definition “Live from Orchestra Hall” webcast. The orchestra said the webcast player will make online viewers feel as if they are sitting in Detroit’s Orchestra Hall.

The Symphony said it is the only U.S. orchestra to offer a free series of webcasts, which are made possible through contributions from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ford Motor Co. Fund.

The new viewing environment mimics the interior of Orchestra Hall, giving audiences across the world the same view as local music lovers.

The webcast player also features dimming controls so that viewers at home can control their own version of the house lights.

Audience members now will be able to view a full schedule of upcoming webcasts and add them their online calendars. Viewers also can tweet directly from the webcast player page and follow the feed in the same browser window, allowing audience members to interact with fellow concertgoers while watching the concert at the same time.

The piece being played at any moment will be highlighted on a live repertoire tracker, and live program notes will post below the viewing window with trivia about the piece and the artists.

The “Live From Orchestra Hall” series is one of three new digital initiatives the DSO is introducing this season. Also new to the orchestra’s digital repertoire are DSO To Go, a free mobile app, and the Symphony’s first downloadable, digital album produced in-house.