What would it be like to play in a string quartet? How do the four top musicians of the Kamus Quartet communicate with each other within milliseconds mid-music; with glances, whispers, are bows lashing, or is the connection between the musicians perhaps telepathic?

Inside the Quartet allows the audience to experience music from the point of view of a Kamus Quartet player of their choice. Viewed via VR-headsets, the experience features the first two movements of Jean Sibelius’s Voces Intimae, performed by Kamus at the composer’s home Ainola where the work was filmed in summer 2020. An interdisciplinary team from Aalto University has been responsible for the technical implementation of the work.

“Inside the Quartet was driven by a desire to try out VR-technology as a new form of encounter between a string quartet and its audience,” says Kamus. “Playing in a string quartet is an art that requires seamless and wordless collaboration, and there are many enticing elements in the intersection between this line-up that emerged hundreds of years ago and the latest technology of today,” Kamus continues. The chosen technique allows the idea of ​​the quartet to be conveyed. “Inside the Quartet is a study of musical intimacy and communication. It, therefore, translates naturally to virtual reality with a brand new way of expression,” says Sebastian J. Schlecht, project manager of Aalto University’s team and Professor of Practice from Aalto Acoustics Lab.

“Kamus wholeheartedly wants to promote cooperation between experts in various fields, which this time the quartet got to do with the wonderful and open-minded top-of-the-notch team from Aalto University. We threw ourselves to the unknown with joy”, Kamus comments on the cooperation with the top university and a new media format. “The virtual scenery, both visually and sonically, is captured with precise technology to bring the spectator directly into the musical circle. For this, the capture combines 360 video and audio live recordings with acoustic and photographic reconstructions of the space. In particular, we are excited to explore the interaction between music and space in such an intimate and close setting”, Schlecht explains on the implementation of the work. “We hope to share the rare opportunity to see the language of music at work and give insight into this art form”, he continues.

The work is presented to the public as an installation consisting of four VR-headsets, modeled after a string quartet composition. Each of the headsets are individually running the experience, making it available for 1-4 experiencers at a time.

The work will be available for conference visitors to experience on Tuesday only.