Watch this: A live orchestra plays ‘Carmen’ using only smartphones and tablets

Android Carmen

This is pretty impressive. BNP Paribas’ ‘Hello Bank!’ which alleges to be Europe’s first fully-digital mobile bank, coordinated and taped this spot during a live performance by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague. Led by conductor Libor Pesek, the orchestra features 60 musicians playing their parts on various smart devices, making use of 227 different devices that were linked together via Wi-Fi. They’re playing from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen, based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée.

This is great for a lot of reasons. First, the kind of planning, testing, and skill involved on the parts of the conductor, every musician and technician, the higher-ups at the production company and the spot’s producers is staggering. The experiment lends itself to any number of things going wrong, from dropped connections to misuse of the touchscreen controls by trained orchestra musicians. And second, how often do you see a stunt like this go off without a hitch?

The technology is there right now for video-chatting between any number of device types, with new phone and tablet options popping up all the time. So whether you’re sitting on a concert stage with 59 other musicians or participating in an online college discussion with any number of other students logging in from all over the world, these large-scale presentations utilizing Wi-Fi are no less achievable than any other kind of collaborative effort. Here’s hoping we see more of them.

If you’re still curious, here’s a video on how this was accomplished.