Symphonies are using technologies from virtual reality to live streaming to holograms in order to reach a larger audience. But now, you can even carry an orchestra in your pocket. Thanks to the New York Philharmonic app, anyone can have 100 renowned musicians at their fingertips for no cost.
The basic interface of the New York Phil’s app is simple and easy to navigate. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iTouch with iOS 6 or later. Hopefully New York Phil’s Android audience can expect an app soon. After the app finishes downloading, the New York Philharmonic logo greets the user. The home page includes a list of upcoming events. Clicking on an image will lead the user to the concert information and the ticket purchasing system. Just click on the desired performance, buy the tickets, and the app will even sync up the directions directly to Google Maps. This app is perfect for a "spur of the moment person" in New York.
Beyond the home page, New York Philharmonic had to make a choice in their design. As orchestras are creating apps, they have to make decisions about functionality. Will the app be a unique experience where the user learns exclusive information about the orchestra, or will it provide a condensed version of their website for all the on-the-go busy-bees? The New York Philharmonic went with the latter. While nyphil.org offers all the information found on the app, the condensed version presents it in a more accessible way. The features include events, music, videos, and more. There is even content from soundcloud in which you can to "meet" the musicians. Someone who has a few minutes to spare can listen to music while switching to other pages within the app. And as a bonus, the music continues to play while other apps are open. This way you can enjoy the New York Philharmonic as you tend to your virtual world or send countless emails.
The app still has some wrinkles to iron out. Like any orchestra will experience, using new technologies means creating more things that need to be updated regularly. Tickets to certain events were not available for purchase on the app because they had already passed. Some pages were even lost entirely. When I tried to access the Meet the Orchestra tab, I was left at with an error message saying "page cannot be found". Yet, due to the similarities between the app and the website, I followed the link and read the information through the website instead.
My experience with the app was on public transportation filled with people in their morning bustle. Plugging into the app and listening to notes and Debussy’s La Mer conducted by Pierre Boulez transformed my twenty minutes into a blissful experience. In a crowded bus filled with all the stress of the morning, it is an oasis classical music can provide as it transports you someplace much better than the city bus.