Carnegie Hall’s “Project Stage” concept was the idea of concert producer James Caruso, president of Commedia Montecito, and a tenured faculty member of the school.
Caruso discovered recordings in a local art store that were stored in unlabeled shipping containers and later discovered by research in archives after they were given to institutions.
Caruso and Carnegie’s Maurice Deane also conducted studies in the recording industry and discovered that many recordings were never available to the public and had to be re-digitized, and had lengthy time lags from release to ability to be transferred to a digital format.
“This is musicological pornography,” Deane said of the recordings. “This kind of work is unique, and I feel lucky I get to witness and be involved in something so rare in this world.”
Programs will be featured in the web streaming service including A Day in the Life of Julie Cohen, a 50-minute video of singer Julie Cohen’s 1986 Carnegie Hall performance. It was released in 2016 by Columbia Records, but never available in the digital world.
In 2016, Carnegie Hall partnered with Columbia to release Coincidences: An Evening of Vaudeville Comedy and Hymns in a Big City, starring Patrick Heusinger, who was an associate professor at the university at the time. The program was not available in the digital world.
Project Stage will make the videos available. More films are planned.
Broadcast from Carnegie Hall, the concerts are still recorded using various technologies, including stereoscopic 3D, and audio from different sources, including a seven-channel audio commentary by The Singers’ Guild podcast, 11:30AM ET.
Deborah Landau said the web streaming is a landmark as Carnegie moves from becoming a recipient of recordings to a producer of music videos, lectures and concerts.
“This new model for helping Carnegie not only keeps things alive, but also creates opportunities for an incredible number of passionate fans to be part of the creative process. For musicians, it means more concerts can be seen,” Landau said.
Loren Craine, a performance historian, curator and the director of education at the New York Public Library, was involved in the development of Project Stage.
“The new program is a revolution in access for fans to music that is otherwise available only at concerts and places such as museums and libraries. This program broadens access for fans of music in North America to up-to-date recordings,” Craine said.
An annotation feature will allow fans to expand the experience with details and notes.
The program’s video archives are being maintained at Carnegie’s imaging center, which has 702,000 feet of film that dates to 1980 and video surveillance cameras that were installed in the mid-1990s.
“When people say, ‘Did you know that some film from 1978, 1980 was never released?’ the answer is, it was for a long time and became unusable because of the quality. It has never been restored before this project,” Deane said.
Deane said the archived program is impressive. “We want to give every Carnegie Hall fan a chance to discover and enjoy this extensive and wonderful collection,” he said.
The major music labels released their products before it was clear a new online delivery system was viable.
During the development of Project Stage, some artists felt the project represented an encroachment on their relationship with fans, but Deane said the standard programming was carefully thought out.
“Our programming addresses great music for which there is no lack of great music to see live and hear in the house. We simply wanted to better communicate that to our viewers and listeners,” he said.
The program is aimed at adults. As with the iTunes, Project Stage has the option to download videos for $0.99/eighth of an hour, and the Spotify equivalent is $2.99/episode. All broadcasts are available to users at no charge through the project’s website.
The Project Stage website is www.events-algorithms.com/projects-stage/
The Associated Press contributed to this report.