VC INTERVIEW | Ross Binnie - Cleveland Orchestra's New Streaming Platform, Adella

The Violin Channel recently sat down with Cleveland Orchestra's Chief Brand Officer, Ross Binnie, at the launch of the ensemble's new streaming platform, Adella

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Congratulations on the launch of your new streaming app. Adella.

Thank you! We are pleased at the positive response from our audience so far.

 

What can we expect to see in Adella and how can we watch?

Our flagship series on Adella is "In Focus", a collection of digital Cleveland Orchestra concert broadcasts from Severance Hall. You can also watch a series of never-before-seen performances filmed this summer called Cleveland Orchestra Showcase. While these require an Adella Premium subscription, there are also several videos from the Archives and behind-the-scenes videos that are available for free.

The Adella app is free to download, and is available on Andriod, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire, and Chromecast. It is also accessible from the web, via www.adella.live.

 

What technologies have you employed to provide a superior streaming service?

Our collaborative production team includes experts in the field: our local PBS affiliate, ideastream, Digital River Media, as well as audio producer Elaine Martone and audio engineer Gintas Norvila. This team uses state-of-the-art equipment to ensure that the quality of each digital concert is superb. Our in-house digital team used Vimeo OTT to build the Adella streaming platform, and we went through several rounds of testing before we launched in early October. The user experience is exceptional, from the show itself to the ease of watching to our dedicated support team (with a helpline available for any user questions).

 

The “InFocus Series” has launched this month - exclusively on Adella. Can you tell us more about this?

In Focus is a new, original series of digital concerts performed at Severance Hall that music-lovers around the world have the ability to stream on-demand. Concert programs were curated to showcase the intimate and transparent chamber music qualities of The Cleveland Orchestra.

The first three consecutive recordings are led by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst. Musical selections include works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Haydn, and Tchaikovsky.

 

What are the highlights of the series we should be looking out for?

Franz Welser-Möst leads the Orchestra in concerts with pianist Yefim Bronfman performing Schnittke’s Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra and Emanuel Ax playing Haydn’s Piano Concerto in D Major. John Adams will conduct a concert featuring his Shaker Loops (for string orchestra) and solo performances from Vikingur Ólafsson and The Cleveland Orchestra’s Jung-Min Amy Lee.

The opening concert features The Cleveland Orchestra premiere of George Walker’s Antifonys for String Orchestra, as well as music by Respighi and Tchaikovsky.

There are also terrific “behind the scenes” interviews that help illuminate the concert experience.

You can find full details of the series on Adella or by visiting www.clevelandorchestra.com.

 

Your online platform is named after the orchestra’s pioneering founder, Adella Prentiss Hughes. Can you tell us about her?

Adella Prentiss Hughes is known as the “mother of The Cleveland Orchestra,” first founding the Musical Arts Association in 1915 and then establishing a permanent orchestra in Cleveland in 1918. Adella was not only the Orchestra’s founder, but also served as its first General Manager until 1933. She continued to work for and serve the Orchestra until her death in 1950.

It’s incredibly fitting that this visionary leader from our past is the namesake for this innovative next step in our future. Moreover, a famous photo of Adella Prentiss Hughes in a wide-brimmed hat served as the inspiration for the Adella logo design!

 

On top of concerts, you also mentioned a number of educational programs will also be available? Please tell us about these.

Our Education and Community Engagement team — like everyone in on our staff — has been working to reach our audience digitally and expand access to our music during this pandemic.

We have already released some fantastic education and community-based content on the Orchestra’s social media YouTube channel (in particular, I encourage those with pre-school aged children to watch the Music Explorers web series). As the team continues to create new videos for our audience, we will evaluate what could be offered on the Adella app.

 

You have a Free Basic and Premium service. Can you tell us about these?

Adella is free to use and download, and includes several pieces of free content from the Orchestra’s Archives, On A Personal Note podcast, and other performance highlights.

To view premium content, such as the In Focus concert series, users will need access to Adella Premium. This service can be purchased for $34.99/month. Adella Premium is also automatically available to all Cleveland Orchestra subscribers (including Members Club, The Circle, and Frequent Fan Card holders) in Cleveland and Miami and donors who contribute more than $300 annually.

 

When the world shut down, you created the 'On A Personal Note' series, to discuss the emotional impact of music on people. Can you tell us more about this?

We’ve been discussing podcasting for years, but with the pandemic, the On A Personal Note podcast was essential in telling our story and staying engaged with our audience. Each episode features a member of The Cleveland Orchestra family — a musician, Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, or a trustee — sharing a story about the music that has shaped their lives. After the story, we get to hear an excerpt from the concert itself — digging into the Orchestra’s vast archive of concert and commercial recordings. Many of the recordings have never been available to hear publicly until now!

With season one, the podcast built a loyal and growing audience, with more than 17,000 downloads and over 600 hours of listening time all over the world including the United

States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Austria, and 66 other countries. We even a listener in Mongolia.

Season two is airing now! You can find On A Personal Note wherever you get your podcasts, such as Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts. To learn more, visit www.clevelandorchestra.com/podcast.