Behind the scenes – a player’s perspective

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How did the Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians feel to be part of a virtual orchestra? Violinist Dita Immermane, from Latvia, had been in lockdown for three weeks when she was invited to take part. ‘I had already had some rest from normal life,’ she says, ‘so I was excited to have the opportunity to work on something new again. I’ve never been part of a virtual orchestra before, so didn’t know what to expect.’ All the musicians were sent detailed instructions of how to make their audio and video recordings of the Shostakovich excerpt, including advice on microphone and camera set-up, lighting and background, and also what to wear. ‘We only had a few days to prepare and record our parts,’ says Dita, ‘and at first I was a bit worried about how I would make that one perfect recording. We had a reference track to play along with, which helped give me a feeling that I was actually playing together with other musicians. While I was playing my part, I imagined how the Baltic Sea Philharmonic would play certain phrases, or how Kristjan would ask us to think about certain passages, and I had such a strong feeling that the orchestra had played the piece before. But when I asked some of the other musicians, I found out we hadn’t. This made me realise just how united I feel with the other players from the orchestra, even though we physically can’t be together at the moment.’

Besides renewing a feeling of togetherness and community among the musicians, the virtual orchestra project had other benefits, says Dita. ‘It motivated me to continue to practise, because especially with the current situation it’s easy to stop practising if you don’t have specific goals. And I think my fellow Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians will agree that after intensive days of recording, we could all now play the first movement of Shostakovich 7 from memory! So I hope we can perform this piece by heart on stage some day.’

Check out our website to read more insights from violinist Dita Immermane about the Shostakovich virtual orchestra recording


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