VAN Beethoven
BY Weronika JURKIEWICZ — October 18, 2021

Bringing classical music to the masses has been on every institution’s agenda, but LA Phil takes those efforts to the next level with their new taco-truck-meets-Oculus-Rift project called VAN Beethoven. This customized truck, which will be touring the streets of Los Angeles from September 11 until October 18, is equipped with carpet and seating from Walt Disney Concert Hall and an Oculus headset, giving Angelenos a unique opportunity to experience the first minutes of the famous Symphony No. 5, led by Gustavo Dudamel, in a fully immersive environment.

This 360-degree experience, produced by interactive agency Secret Location, is further enhanced by a soundtrack that adapts to the viewer’s perspective. Mirroring the acoustics of the venue, the sonic experience shifts subtly depending on the viewer’s position, providing yet another level of immersion.

“Music is a beautiful symbol of unity, and it is very important to share the joy of music with people from all walks of life and from the many different communities in Los Angeles and beyond,” LA Phil’s Artistic Director and conductor Gustavo Dudamel said in a statement. “I have often said music is a fundamental human right, and using this technology helps us to make this mission even stronger,” he added.

The truck will stop at various venues around Los Angeles, including parks, museums, and cultural centers. The full schedule can be found at LAPhil.com/VANBeethoven. Beginning this month, the Orchestra VR experience will be also available as a free app in the Samsung Gear VR and Oculus app stores.

VAN Beethoven project is part of LA Phil’s efforts to promote its Immortal Beethoven festival, which takes place between September 29 and October 13 and features the composer’s nine famous symphonies.