New World, New Beginning

Classical Performance + Virtual Reality


Event Overview

The ICOA is collaborating with the New York Philharmonic and its “New World Initiative”, a season-long, citywide project revolving around Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World, and its theme of “home”. This initiative commemorates the Philharmonic’s 175th season, while highlighting the complexity of New York City and the ways it represents the definition of home.

ICOA has commissioned renowned composer, and native New Yorker, Bruce Adolphe, and visual artists, James Rouvelle and Lili Maya (Maya+Rouvelle) to create works that will be world premiered by the ICOA in May 2017.

Adolphe’s composition for the ICOA, Dvorshock, will be lead by conductor Daniel Feng and accompanied on stage by an integrative arts experience by Maya+Rouvelle, incorporating Virtual Reality and Live Performance. The Adolphe and Maya+Rouvelle projects underscore the mission values of ICOA: collaboration, cultural exchange, and innovative performance. This work will present a fresh and dynamic take on the “New World Initiative” that will represent the commonalities of excellence and innovation that underscore both the New York Philharmonic and the ICOA.





The New Works:

Maya+Rouvelle’s new work (as yet untitled) will present a live/Virtual Reality performance synchronized with Bruce Adolphe’s Dvorshock. The theme will include New York as a home and a history but also as an idea hence the virtual reality connection — a "virtual" or idealized city: a Coney Island of the mind. New York will be viewed as a place energized by a sense of unlimited potential (for many, perpetually out of reach) and a place where one's dreams often exist in a persistent, parallel accompaniment/foil to the realities of city life. This quality, the concurrency of present, past, future and idea, has been a longstanding aspect of NYC, and was energized by the wave of immigration and technological innovation around the turn of the 20th Century, the time Dvořák was living here. 

In this work, a performer will be wearing a VR headset and traveling through, and interacting with, a virtual environment. The audience will see the virtual world through her eyes, as a projection on a screen above the orchestra, in a kind of virtual reality cinema. The environments and encounters the performer will have will be based on iconic New York locations, situations, and objects from different epochs that reflect its past and create a context to consider its present and future.

Bruce Adolphe’s Dvorshock, is a fantasia based on the powerful and very familiar theme from the last movement of Dvořák’s Symphony in E Minor (From the New World).  The work begins in a musical mist in which fragments of the theme emerge and disappear. Gradually the outline of the theme is discernable and soon, the mist clears, leaving the theme completely in the clear. Quickly, a new vitality takes over, and the inflections of New York— jazzy, confident, brash and fun-loving—take Dvořák’s theme for a ride. More than that happens in the piece, but why give it all away in a program note?



In today’s world, many people are convinced they hold the totality of human wisdom and expression in the palm of their hand. In a single device, one can access music, literature, visual art, personal contact, entertainment, world events, “everything”. One can also create and share all forms of personal expression. This ease and speed of access and creation reshapes the ways we interact and the ways we think about ourselves and others. These conditions also affect how many people view the potentials and importance of Art. With technology leading the charge on global innovation, it only makes sense that Art follow suit, reflecting the world as it exists today and what it can be tomorrow.

This event will present a new way of hearing the past and seeing the future - bringing live classical performance together with virtual reality. Our performance will center around the idealism, energy, and potential that lives at the heart of New York City. By bringing the roller-coaster reality of urban life, from optimism to grit, we will integrate the outside world into the concert hall as metaphor, reimagining the constructs of time and space, and providing audiences with an opportunity to engage with music and Art that invites personal reflection that is a simultaneous freedom from one’s circumstances and an awareness of a holistic integration with them, not through argument, but through feeling.

In a musical landscape where audiences seek a more immersive and visceral concert experience, the ICOA strives to revolutionize the intersection of music, art, and technology as a means to revitalize the rich, passionate, contemplative, and humanizing experiences that Classical Music and Art evoke around the world.