Unison Orchestra was born out of the pandemic. One of its founders, award-winning BMI composer Laura Karpman, explains it this way: “While we all crave to be together and make music, it is simply not feasible, nor responsible, at this time and may not be safe for the foreseeable future. For the scoring world, the question is, “How can we still be together through music making? How can we complete our goals in terms of score delivery? How do we continue to deliver the highest quality orchestral music to both our clients and, in the future, audiences who are craving new music and a new way of doing things?”
As a result of these unprecedented circumstances, Karpman’s fellow Juilliard grads, conductor Marin Alsop, composer Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum and violinist Lisa Liu, created a virtual orchestra with the idea of musicians all being together even while physically apart. They have handpicked the best players from all over the world, while consulting with esteemed conductors and seasoned musicians.
In addition, Brad Haehnel, the project’s chief engineer, is diligently working with the musicians to make sure they have the right microphones and home studio equipment, while educating them on mic placement, room treatments and Pro Tools, so they can deliver excellent performances. After multiple test runs to see what works and what doesn’t, the group is working on a system focused on efficiency and quality, and the result is sonic perfection.
The mission of Unison Orchestra is to keep musicians employed and they encourage other composers to also do remote recording. As Karpman notes, “We are all a community of musicians and we all must continue to work and thrive in these extraordinary circumstances.”