MAGNIFY YOUR MUSIC
We’re passionate about creating immersive concert experiences for audiences, so we love it when orchestras approach us with a new project idea for an important upcoming concert. Our artist, Nicholas Bardonnay, enjoys working with a diversity of music and subjects, and he can photograph and expertly choreograph a new multimedia piece that’s tailored for your concerts.
How it works
- Let us know about your project idea and the potential music. Then we'll brainstorm with you about the scope and approach.
- We’ll do some initial research, put together an estimated production budget and draft a straighforward agreement for you.
- With the music in mind, our artist travels to distinctive, well-researched locations to shoot a library of images to work with. For historically themed pieces, he’ll gather the best archival images available.
- To build additional excitement, our artist can participate in press interviews, and we’ll supply your orchestra with some great images from the new piece to help promote the concerts.
- Your orchestra premieres the newly created concert piece, live-cued by our artist.
Our art form is quite versatile—new commissions are suitable for a wide spectrum of music and topics. Here are a few ideas for starters:
- Cultural Journeys
- Great Composers
- Historical Subjects
- Important Anniversaries
- International Travel
- Natural Beauty
- Orchestra Milestones
- Your Great Idea
Nicholas Bardonnay's photographic skills and interests cover a broad range. He’s equally as adept at photographing in remote natural landscapes as he is working in international locales, shooting candid portraiture, or handpicking imagery from historical archives.
Let us know what you have in mind, and we would be happy to explore some ideas with you.
Featured commissions Royal Scottish National Orchestra & Toronto Symphony
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra wanted to do something special to accompany their performance of Smetana’s Má vlast for conductor Peter Oundjian’s inaugural season in Scotland. The epic and multifaceted work is a favorite of Oundjian’s and a special treat for any audience to hear in its entirety outside Smetana’s homeland. The Czech Republic soon became the natural location for creating the new imagery.
Shortly after approaching us, the RSNO invited Oundjian’s longstanding home orchestra in Canada to participate in the project. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra was enthusiastic about the idea and a partnership quickly formed.
Following two extensive, month-long photography stints across the Czech Republic in the early summer and in the fall, we had a large and diverse image library of more than 40,000 photos to begin choreographing the 80+ minute work, our longest multimedia piece to date. It became a visual journey through Smetana’s modern-day homeland, seamlessly blending the cities, landscapes, people and culture of today’s Czech Republic with the mood and character of each of the composer’s six symphonic poems.
The RSNO and TSO premiered the new concert piece Czech Journeys in March and April 2013, respectively. For the concerts in Scotland, the RSNO programmed an exciting series of back-to-back performances in Glasgow, Perth and Edinburgh, and set up an in-depth BBC radio interview leading up to the concerts.
The TSO organized a well-attended pre-concert talk to explore the creative process that led to the new concert piece. After the performance, several teary-eyed members of Toronto’s Czech community came over to tell us how wonderfully and authentically the multimedia piece illustrated their country.
SMETANA, Má vlast
Prague, Moldau river, Bohemia, Moravia, castles, history, Czech countryside, agriculture and landscapes, national parks, monuments, cathedrals, regional cities, villages and festivals, portraits of Czech citizens
Featured commissions The Phoenix Symphony & Tucson Symphony Orchestra
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Arizona’s statehood, its two largest orchestras co-commissioned a multimedia piece to highlight the state’s most impressive, internationally recognizable landmark: the Grand Canyon. For the Phoenix and Tucson symphonies, Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite was a perfect fit for the new production.
The Grand Canyon is a multifaceted place, and the photographic process for the new concert piece spanned six separate trips to the canyon and surrounding areas. The first foray involved a 9-day rafting and camping trip down the impressive Colorado River in early spring to capture vantages and details only possible from the bottom of the canyon.
From several thousand feet higher, we explored the canyon’s gorgeous vistas from the distinctly different North and South rims, both displaying the famous grandeur that makes the Grand Canyon truly unique. Next, we ventured by sturdy 4×4 vehicle to the more remote stretches of the canyon rarely seen by visitors. One foray onto an isolated 60-mile dirt road involved an axle-pounding final 10 miles, but the experience and the incredible views we brought back to the concert hall were well worth a little vehicular distress.
In addition to the canyon itself, we branched out to photograph the remarkable Antelope slot canyon as well as neighboring Petrified Forest National Park, which were inspired by the colorful bars of Painted Desert. Lastly, to give audiences a special treat, we photographed a small local pick-up rodeo as well as the oldest working ranch in Arizona—both near the Grand Canyon—for the lively On the Trail movement.
Since the premieres in Arizona, our Grand Canyon Country concert piece has brought an American natural icon to California, Alabama and Oregon, including a sold-out audience for Maestro Hanson’s Sunriver Music Festival.
We’re now in the planning stages to present a triple series of this concert piece in 2017 with an orchestra in Germany!
GROFÉ, Grand Canyon Suite
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, the Colorado River, canyon vistas, waterfalls, desert flora and fauna, Native American archaeological sites, local rodeo, ranch life, Antelope slot canyon, Petrified Forest National Park, Painted Desert
Featured commissions Akron Symphony & Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra
To commemorate the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and the coinciding NAACP centennial, the orchestras in Akron, Ohio, and Orlando, Florida, commissioned a multimedia accompaniment set to the very fitting Lincoln Portrait. The concert piece is created from the extensive historical image archives at the Library of Congress and the US National Archives. The resulting multimedia piece is a reflection on Lincoln’s presidency, the Civil War, slavery, and the Civil Rights Movement.
Following both premieres under the direction of Maestro Christopher Wilkins, The Eternal Struggle helped many orchestras across the country usher in the 150th anniversaries (from 2011 to 2015) of the Civil War and Lincoln’s presidency. This poignant account of American history was well-received by audiences in states like Nebraska, Colorado, California, Ohio, Montana, Indiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and many more. Guest narrators have ranged from national celebrities like Tom Brokaw and Maya Angelou to senators, generals, university presidents and community leaders.
The concert piece continues to be programmed, most recently for a triple series with The Phoenix Symphony titled “Tribute to the Brave” in October 2015 that also featured our newest commemorative World War I and World War II multimedia pieces.
COPLAND, Lincoln Portrait
Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War, slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, African-American soldiers and civilians, battlefields, leaders, ordinary soldiers, civilians, US cities circa 1861-65, photographs by Mathew Brady, Timothy O’Sullivan and other famous Civil War photographers
Comments from past collaborations
It gave our audience members a fresh perspective on some of the most popular orchestral literature.Robert Alan Reed, Executive Director
Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra
Communicates with the same awareness of spirituality and inner life which is the essence of great music.Christopher Wilkins, Music Director
Akron Symphony & Boston Landmarks Orchestra
This creative interplay of sight and sound was instrumental in drawing an entirely new audience to our hall.Gideon Toeplitz, VP & Managing Director
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Absolutely, absolutely beautiful. I’ve traveled all over the place, and you made my day!Linda Matthews
Concertgoer in Birmingham, Alabama
A work for our time.Peter Nero
Pianist & Conductor
Our concerts featuring photochoreography rank as our second best ticket draw of all time (the first was Beethoven's Ninth Symphony).Robert Birman, Executive Director
Santa Barbara Symphony
The composer's musical imagery was made even more eloquent through the stunning color photography.San Antonio Light
Phenomenal!Edward Polochick, Music Director
Concert Artists of Baltimore & Lincoln Symphony Orchestra
The concert quickly sold out with ... a waiting list which grew to six pages long.Barry Auman, Executive Director
Reno Philharmonic Orchestra
... a heart-melting multimedia experience.The Post-Courier, Charleston, SC
We received more media attention for this concert than any other we've done.Holly Turner, Executive Director
Wyoming Symphony Orchestra