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European Start-up Symphony Creates “Netflix for Classical Music”

Symphony, the on-demand platform for classical music discovery, will launch on Saturday, September 24 with the first official episode of “Symphony Night Live,” featuring the season opening of the Concertgebouw Orchestra from Amsterdam. Subscribers get a front-row seat and a backstage pass for compelling stories behind the music and exclusive interviews with soloists and conductors.

All are welcomed to this opening night via Symphony, and new subscribers receive a 14-day free trial.

Together, the Concertgebouw Orchestra and Symphony present highly curated, beautifully produced videos of performances, talks, intimate backstage moments, and other touchstones to guide subscribers toward a new way to hear orchestras. They’ll hear from star clarinetist Martin Fröst, gathering unmatched context into the performance, and a greater understanding of the genre as a whole.

“Of course it’s great that Amsterdammers can enjoy clarinetist Martin Fröst, pianist Víkingur Ólafsson and sunny music by Adams, Grieg and Bernstein, but fans of symphonic music from all over the world want to be able to enjoy this wonderful opening of the season,” says Symphony Co-Founder Rob Overman. “That’s what we’re making possible with Symphony.”

To make the music appealing and engaging for a wide audience, Symphony has found two exceptional presenters: Dominic Seldis, renowned solo bassist for the Concertgebouw Orchestra and judge on the TV programme Maestro, and Tommy Pearson, former BBC reporter and classical music expert. Like sports reporters, they will provide lively background information, take viewers backstage, and chat with experts about the evening’s performance. They will offer context through their knowledge and provide an accessible, light tone for viewers.

In short, They are destined to become the new voices of classical music.

Two years ago, Overman started to approach orchestras with his idea. Several responded with immediate enthusiasm.

Orchestras discovered that they could put their wonderful recordings online, but it was very difficult to cover costs from online ticket sales.

Through partnership with Symphony, half of the streaming service’s revenues goes back to the orchestras. “We were immediately excited by the idea of a Champions League of the best orchestras in the world.

By collaborating with our famous fellow orchestras on Symphony, we can join forces in our ambition to reach a global audience,” says Managing Director Dominik Winterling of the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

A dozen of the world’s best orchestras will deliver unique live concerts to Symphony’s streaming platform, including the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, The Cleveland Orchestra, l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Czech Philharmonic and the Budapest Festival Orchestra.

More orchestras will follow this autumn and next year.

All participating orchestras will each stream four live concerts a year under the title ‘Symphony Night Live’ including full-length recordings of performances complete with interviews, behind the scenes stories, and commentary by experts.

Live streamed or on-demand concerts are nothing out of the ordinary since orchestras had to pivot due to Covid-19. Yet audiences still struggle to know exactly what they want to listen to, and where to find high quality performances.

There was nothing to guide, advise or inspire music lovers: until the arrival of Symphony.

A beta test has been running in a limited number of countries since June. On September 24, Symphony will be live in the Netherlands, Sweden and a host of English-speaking countries: the UK, the US, Canada and Australia.

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