Cadogan Hall and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra announce exclusive collaboration with Octava

Cadogan Hall and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) have announced their collaboration with Octava, exclusive to the Orchestra’s Symphonic Soundscapes: The Music of Prokofiev and Sibelius series. Octava is a digital app that delivers real-time programme notes to audiences’ mobile devices during concerts; that aims to introduce new audiences to classical music to enhance their concert experience.

Octava, first trialled in the US, provides supplemental information about the performance which audience members can read at the exact moment when the information is most pertinent, with the promoter controlling the content and delivery. When coupled with an apt programme and setting, the application can be used to enhance the live experience and involve, enlighten and engage audience members more deeply. Octava’s DarkscreenTM Technology delivers “glance optimised” information without distracting the viewer, or those around them, from the performance.

The RPO and Cadogan Hall trialled Octava at the first Symphonic Soundscapes concert on 25 October with a selection of audience members using the app in a designated seating area. As the concert commenced, Octava slides included an introduction from Alexander Shelley, with text relating to the live music indicating poignantly key moments within the music. Appropriate visuals also help to relay and describe the musical journey, or in some cases highlighting listeners to orchestral techniques involving certain sections of the Orchestra. Following this and the positive feedback, audience members will have the option to use Octava in designated seats at the remaining Symphonic Soundscapes concerts on 25 and 29 January and 30 March 2017.

The Symphonic Soundscapes series, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal Associate Conductor Alexander Shelley, explores the music of Prokofiev and Sibelius; the inspirations, styles and nuances of the two composers and their distinct orchestra journeys. For the first concert on 25 January, the Orchestra and Shelley perform two contrasting Prokofiev symphonies: the lyrical Symphony No.1 and the highly energetic and bustling Symphony No.3. In between the two symphonies, Chloë Hanslip joins the Orchestra to perform Sibelius’ passionate Violin Concerto. Sibelius’ Symphony No.1 opens the second concert on 29 January with a striking, brooding clarinet solo which sets the scene for this melodic masterpiece. Ning Feng joins the Orchestra for Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1 and the concert concludes with a performance of Sibelius’ tempestuous Symphony No.7. For the last concert in the series, on 30 March, Shelley and the RPO are joined by pianist Vadym Kholodenko for a performance of Prokofiev’s boisterous and buoyant Piano Concerto No.5. The programme also features two works from Sibelius: Tapiola and his wistful Symphony No.5.

Linda Dusman, Co-Creator of Octava, commented

“As co-creators of Octava, Eric Smallwood and I are thrilled that Royal Philharmonic Orchestra audiences will be the first in Europe to experience the musical connections Octava inspires. Refined through years of audience testing, we’ve perfected a way to enhance but not disturb the classical music performance with “real-time” commentary presented in smart phones. As a result of our synergistic collaboration, RPO will provide program notes that truly engage.”

Chris Evans, Director of Marketing and Press, RPO commented

“Octava is a unique app designed to help and assist the participant through a musical journey. We of course welcome all users, but the tone is specifically aimed towards new and potentially younger audiences, offering a real-time insight into the music being played live on stage by the Orchestra. I really feel this is a useful tool and could therefore be a game charger for those who are a little wary venturing into a classical concert. Octava, we hope, will broaden the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s audience.”

For further press information please contact:

Rebecca Driver Media Relations
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Phone: +44 (0)20 7247 1894

Symphonic Soundscapes: The Music of Prokofiev and Sibelius dates:

Booking information:

  • Tickets: from £15, available from Cadogan Hall Box Office – book for all three Symphonic Soundscapes concerts in a designated seating area for £75
  • Online:
  • Venue: Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ
  • Box Office: 020 7730 4500
  • The Box Office is open for telephone bookings Monday–Saturday (10am–6pm; to 8pm on performance days) and Sunday (12pm–8pm; performance days only)
  • Telephone and online bookings are subject to a fee of £3.00 per transaction, except for ENCORE members

Notes to Editors

About Octava LLC

Octava LLC’s mobile app platform enables presenters to communicate with their audiences in real-time. Initially designed for classical concert music, the flexible Octava system can enhance audience engagement for any performing art or public presentation. Company founders Linda Dusman and Eric Smallwood, faculty at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), have received multiple awards from the State of Maryland/TEDCO via the Maryland Innovation Initiative program enabling commercialization and world-wide implementation. For more information, please visit

About the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO)

In 2016, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) celebrates 70 years at the forefront of music-making in the UK. Its home base since 2004 at London’s Cadogan Hall serves as a springboard for fourteen residencies across the country, often in areas where access to live orchestral music is very limited. With a wider reach than any other UK large ensemble, the RPO has truly become Britain’s national orchestra.

The regional programme, plus regular performances at Cadogan Hall, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and a hugely popular series at the Royal Albert Hall, are conducted by a distinguished roster of musicians: Charles Dutoit, appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor in 2009 after a decades-long association with the RPO; Pinchas Zukerman, the inspirational Principal Guest Conductor; Alexander Shelley, the dynamic young Principal Associate Conductor since January 2015, and the esteemed Permanent Associate Conductor Grzegorz Nowak. 

Read the full Royal Philharmonic Orchestra biography...

About Cadogan Hall

Set in a fantastic location in the heart of Chelsea, Cadogan Hall has become one of London’s leading venues. The Hall’s 950 seats, excellent acoustic and luxurious surroundings make it the first choice for some of the UK’s top orchestras, including the Hall’s resident orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, as well as a favourite London destination for international touring orchestras. Cadogan Hall is the chosen venue for the world-famous BBCProms Chamber Music Series and also offers a vibrant selection of contemporary, jazz, folk and world music events as well as talks, debates and conferences.

The building originated as a New Christian Science Church but fell in to disuse in 1996. Cadogan Estate purchased the Hall in 2000 and reopened it as a concert hall in 2004. Since then the Hall as established the Zurich International Orchestra Series, which celebrates its tenth year this season with sixteen concerts performed by eleven international orchestras and an array of renowned conductors and critically-acclaimed soloists. Over the last decade the series has presented nearly one hundred concerts from over forty orchestras. The Hall is also home to the UK’s leading acapella song festival, ‘Choral at Cadogan’ which is curated by renowned choral conductor Peter Phillips and this season features eight concerts given by prominent vocal ensembles.

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