Held on the grounds of the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing, the Taihu Jazz Festival, the Taihu Dance and Arts Centre’s annual outdoor celebration of jazz, was presented this year with performances in the open-air environment supported by an immersive audio design utilizing the L-Acoustics L-ISA platform.
Co-organized by the NCPA and China Musicians Association (CMA), the week-long musical affair consists of live performances, online live broadcasts, lifestyle experiences, and music master classes, all delivering a unique outdoor jazz-driven experience. As the years passed, raising the production value and staging tour-level music performances has driven the festival’s growth.
“In the open-air environment of NCPA, we can present new musical creations and engaging experiences to the audience at each edition,” explains Huang Yong, sound director of the Taihu Jazz Festival. “This year, we made it our goal to introduce L‑ISA immersive sound technology to returning festivalgoers. We wanted it to be the first time L-ISA was used for an open-air concert in China.”
The festival held more than local and international jazz acts performing for audiences over six evenings in May. For the opening night, the CMA All-Star Jazz Orchestra performed reinterpretations of Chinese folk songs in a big band jazz style. Then headlining performances were conducted by Grammy-nominated Japanese jazz pianist Makoto Ozone and his quartet, Chinese jazz piano star A Bu, and the Latin-Jazz outfit Los Amigos.
On the festival’s third night, the experiential performance of “Mountains, Sea, and Scenery: Feng Mantian Immersive Panoramic Sound Concert” presented Chinese art, technology, and nature via playback of sounds found in nature, accompanied by live improvisation by musical instrumentalists.
The festival’s main stage consisted of an L-ISA Scene System of five hangs of three L-Acoustics A15 Focus and one A15 Wide each, with four KS21 subwoofers flown in the center. Twelve X12 coaxial loudspeakers surrounded the audience gallery seating area, while two SB28 subwoofers provided low-frequency extension.
Supplied by L-Acoustics Certified Provider Distributor Rightway Audio Consultants, sound engineers utilized the interface of the L-ISA Controller to mix complex instrument combinations on stage in real-time.
The consistency of each show’s content, as various jazz music styles took to the stage, led to positive feedback from Rao Ziqing, vice president of the General Management Department, Taihu Dance and Arts Centre. “When I sat in the audience gallery, I could hear the depth of each instrument positioned in the three-dimensional space of L-ISA in relation to the musician playing it on stage. I could hear and feel an outstanding sense of realism that I’ve never felt with a traditional stereo concert system,” says Rao.
“L-ISA’s excellent sound positioning allowed the audience to step into the musicians’ world, where they can just listen and feel the music,” explains Yong. “Such an unprecedented aural experience met our technical production objectives brilliantly and will be a key feature at the festival in future editions,” he concludes.