How will the pandemic shape the future of live performances?
One possible answer comes from a new partnership between GBH and the German classical music streaming service IDAGIO, which seeks to bring original classical music performances to listeners’ screens across the globe.
The freshly minted deal will present audiences with a series of five video concerts over the next several months that feature well-known classical musicians performing at GBH’s Fraser Performance Studio. The series, dubbed “Performance Reimagined,” will stream to IDAGIO’s Global Concert Hall and subsequently be available on-demand for a limited time.
The first concert, which unlike future programs is pre-recorded, debuts Saturday, featuring violinist Gil Shaham and musicians from The Knights orchestra playing works from their recent album, “Beethoven and Brahms: Violin Concertos.” Future performances and artists will be announced at a later date.
“It is a unique partnership,” said Anthony Rudel, general manager of GBH Music. “I think we are pioneering something new.”
The series will be hosted by CRB Classical 99.5′s Brian McCreath, who will present the concerts and speak with artists about the work. GBH’s lead audio engineer Antonio Oliart Ros will record each performance, and an audio version will later air on CRB’s Sunday evening “In Concert” broadcast.
Rudel said the series’ format will make each program into a hybrid event: one part concert, one part masterclass, and one part intimate artist talk where the audience can participate.
“We’re able to bring the audience closer to the artist than they can get in a concert hall,” he said, “which is breaking down those barriers.”
Another striking aspect of the project is the funding model: The series is sponsored by Boston area donors Cynthia and Oliver Curme, Ann and Graham Gund, Cynthia Strauss, and Harry Sherr.
“The artists have no risk,” Rudel said. “Our production costs are covered by philanthropy.”
IDAGIO, a video and audio streaming service geared to the unique requirements of classical music, launched the Global Concert Hall in 2020, which features an international array of live and pre-recorded concerts. Founder and CEO Till Janczukowicz said he hoped the venture would grow the audience for classical music, while also offering artists a new way to connect with listeners and receive a generous share of the profits.
To that end, he said, the GH series is using a pay-what-you-will model, with concert tickets costing between $9 and $79. Each ticket gives concertgoers the same level of access, and Janczukowicz said that for earlier concerts some patrons paid nothing while others chose to pay 100 euros, creating an average ticket price of around 20 euros.
“The question that drove me was, how can we use technology to maintain and maybe even boost classical music,” said Janczukowicz, who added that artists would receive the lion’s share of ticket sales. “Online is a great extension of the real world stage.”
Rudel said GBH has produced more than 50 live-streamed events during the pandemic, but the idea to collaborate with IDAGIO began germinating soon after a Memorial Day performance by cellist Yo-Yo Ma at Fraser studio.
“Till connected with me the next morning,” recalled Rudel. “We just began talking about how we could work together. Till has this incredible global platform.”
Janczukowicz said he hoped the collaboration will empower artists.
“This is an economy that’s at the beginning,” he said. “We want to make this big together.”
Gil Shaham and The Knights. 4 p.m. April 17. $9-$79. www.idagio.com