Virtual reality meets the thrill of orchestral music at new Bedford attraction

The world-famous Philharmonia Orchestra is giving families a the chance to experience a symphony orchestra up close for free this summer.

Monday, 18th June 2018, 10:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 4:54 pm
The attraction is organised by the Philharmonia Orchestra

A large tent on Riverside Square will become home to a ten-room installation that showcases the internal workings of the Philharmonia as the orchestra performs Holst’s The Planets, and virtual reality headsets that transport visitors to a concert hall stage where they can see and hear the orchestra up close in 360-degree virtual reality.

Jonathan Mayes, the Philharmonia’s director of residencies and regional programme, said: “It will give the opportunity for thousands of people to interact with a symphony orchestra in an entirely new way.”

The Virtual Orchestra will run from Monday July 2 to Friday August 10. It aims to “engage people through digital experiences” and “broaden and deepen engagement with orchestral music”. There will also be a busy programme of events surrounding the attraction, with activities ranging from karaoke to coffee mornings put on by local artists and musicians.

The Virtual Orchestra culminates with a live concert with a twist at Bedford Corn Exchange on Friday August 10. Philharmonia Orchestra: Live! is designed for audiences who have experienced The Virtual Orchestra. The concert is short, friendly and informal and presented by a specialist to guide the audience through the music. Visitors can relax on a beanbag while you watch or stand at the back and enjoy with a drink.

The Philharmonia Orchestra is the resident orchestra at Bedford Corn Exchange. It has worked on the project with other arts organisations and Bedford Borough Council.

Visit for more information about the Virtual Orchestra.