An NSO World Premiere: Symphon-iPod

By Mike Musgrove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 2, 2007

The iPod will make its live concert debut with the National Symphony Orchestra tonight.

The NSO and Wolf Trap are making a podcast exclusively for this performance so the audience can hear, in one ear, recorded commentary from conductor Emil de Cou about the evening's selections as he simultaneously guides the orchestra onstage through an ecologically themed program titled "Fantastic Planet: A Symphonic Video Spectacular."

The program will feature video footage, provided by NASA and other government agencies, of underwater volcanoes, the Grand Canyon and frozen mountains in Antarctica. As accompaniment, the NSO will perform works selected by de Cou, such as Claude Debussy's "La Mer" and Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring."

"It's another way to reinvent the orchestra and the concert experience," de Cou said yesterday. "You have to try everything that's out there."

To keep the iPod users in sync with the program, the podcast will pause a few times during each of the two parts, indicated by a bell chime.

The podcast, available as a free download through Apple's iTunes store and at, is a first for a symphony orchestra, according to de Cou.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company