Frédéric Chaslin Plays Beethoven's First with Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, iPad Turns Pages

By James Inverne on Nov 01, 2013 05:05 AM EDT

An interesting development from Jerusalem. At the season-opening concert of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra on October 31, the band's music director, Frédéric Chaslin, started the proceedings at the piano to play Beethoven (under conductor Amos Boasson) and brandished an object not that often seen on the stage of Henry Crown Hall--an iPad.

iPad page-turners are not, in themselves, entirely new. But, as Chaslin explained while gingerly placing the tablet on the piano's music stand before the Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15, this one was different.

That stand held an app hot-off-the-press from an Israeli start-up (he didn't say which one, nor the name of the app) which would actually listen to the music and know when to turn the pages, unaided. Other digi-turners tend to use foot pedals or other devices that allow the musician to direct them.

Chaslin seemed slightly nervous about it all, but in a good-humored way. "Tonight is an experiment," he said, adding with a smile, "If you see me touch the screen while I'm playing, you'll know it has gone wrong."

In fact, it hardly ever did go wrong. I detected perhaps two spots where he had to help the device by drawing his finger across the display. Otherwise, Chaslin was able to play Beethoven's concerto even at high speed, and it seemed to keep up.

So, a benchmark moment for a new generation of digital page turners? Could be. Either way, it's good to see two great traditions in Israel combining--highly polished orchestral music and high-tech start-ups.

Next up, the "compose like Beethoven" app. We wish...

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TagsFrédéric Chaslin, Beethoven, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, iPad, Amos Boasson, Henry Crown Hall

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