THE SHOVEL | Toronto Orchestra becomes the first to go without paper



The Brussels Philharmonic replaced the paper scores with Galaxy tablets offered by the manufacturer Samsung in 2015 (Photo courtesy of the Brussels Philharmonic)

You may have been to a concert recently and noticed a strange glow emanating from the desk of a performer playing a sheet music on the fly at a concert. Playing music from tablet computers has become a popular way for chamber musicians to navigate sheet music, especially for pianists looking to avoid a page turn.

The trend has been taking hold for years in Europe, even with orchestras. The Orchester National d’Ile-de-France has equipped all its 120 musicians with iPads in the hope of abolishing the printed notes in the trash of history in 2018. The Brussels Philharmonic has replaced the scores with tablets in 2015.


In Canada, chamber musicians have embraced the trend, but orchestras have not.

That is to say until now.

The Toronto-based Kindred Spirits Orchestra has announced that it has migrated to a fully digital library platform that will permanently replace its old paper-based music library. This archive includes parts with iPad Pro tablets made available to all musicians.

“The Kindred Spirits Orchestra is the first symphony orchestra in Canada to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint by replacing paper-based instrumental parts with a state-of-the-art digital library,” said Kristian Alexander, KSO Music Director. “KSO is proud to join a growing international community of performing arts organizations that have evolved their operations into environmentally friendly business models. “

The new system will save an average of 20,000 sheets of printed paper per year and make rehearsals and post-pandemic performance more convenient, healthier and safer by eliminating high touchpoint exchanges of sheets of paper. , pencils and erasers and allowing hands-free page turns.

The big picture

“The symphony orchestra is a 400-year-old institution that has evolved little to cope with some of the significant changes in the way live music is delivered and consumed today,” said Jobert Sevilleno, president and head of the management of KSO. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caught orchestras around the world by surprise and forced them to shut down operations as they scramble to quickly find a way to survive. Throughout the process we were able to adapt and by using digital technologies we found new and better ways to serve our communities.


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Michel vincent
Latest articles by Michael Vincent (see everything)
Michel vincent
Latest articles by Michael Vincent (see everything)



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