Masters of Bohemian Expression
Hello Composers, Mike here, and I have the great opportunity to share my interview with Ondrej from Virharmonic.
They are probably most famous for the bohemian product line (Bohemian Cello and Bohemian Violin), but also have several other sample libraries.
Hello Ondrej, we are honored to have you share your story and wisdom here on Professional Composers. Let’s start with the interview now! =)
Question 1: What is the story behind Virharmonic, how did it get started?
I guess that it started as with most projects, it started because of needs and wants. I aimed for a word building choir that would be easy to use, include soloists and children choir all with the capability to sing lyrics with as little programming as possible.
Even in the early days I wanted our tools to be as easy to use as possible. In the end the project took over 4 years to complete and gave us many valuable lessons in sampling as well as much clearer idea of where we wanted Virharmonic to go.
When we were completing the Czech Boys Choir (our final library in the choral pack) I was investigating what would be my ideal VI and how I would like to work with Virtual instruments if I was living in an ideal world, that sparked the second stage of Virharmonic and brought about the Soul Capture Series with Bohemian Violin and later Bohemian Cello.
Question 2: Can you share your creative philosophy & vision as a developer?
Lyrical, Emotional, Inspiring and easy to use, those are the four corner stones of our Soul capture series. This is why all Violin, Cello and Viola samples are captured in musical context and always as part of bigger picture.
Sampling snippets of performances that must remain in motion and work contextually together brings it’s own challenges, as they require a lot more time in recording sessions then conventional sampling and of course editing them is an even bigger challenge, but the results are worth it. I’ve always been more interested in sampling the musicians, rather then the instrument alone.
Give two violinists the same part and they will both give you something a bit different, each musician brings something unique to the table and we try to capture bits of what makes them special and still make it easy for the composer to use and inspiring when playing.
Question 3: Which 3 products are you most proud of, and why?
I would have to pick Bohemian Violin, Cello and the not yet released Viola. In the Soul Capture Series we have managed to evolve the idea of a virtual performer so much, that even when simply testing the instrument I often get lost in playing the keyboard and let the violin or cello flow.
Each expansion has managed to push the virtual performer to new levels and thanks to the whole teams effort and the years we have spent testing different approaches, we have managed to surprise our customers with each expansion and the scope it covered.
I’m proud that thanks to the amazing composer community we have managed to evolve this idea to it’s current form and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank each and every composer who has helped us evolve the concept thus far. The list would be very long to thank individually for all your ideas, but we really appreciate the community that helped us with the Bohemian Violin and Cello.
Question 4: What are your future plans, anything you can reveal?
Well this year we have a few things in the oven that are public knowledge. Of course we are at work on the Expansion 3 for the violin which will deliver mostly extended articulations and we are also recording the cellist for Expansion 2 and 3.
We are hard at work to deliver the Viola before the end of this year, so our composers can have all three core stringed instruments. Virharmonic is an ever evolving project for us and the team is constantly looking at new approaches to sampling and virtual instrument developments.
So we have more unannounced things coming over the course of the next two years, but at this point we have a new rule of no public announcements until things are ready, so I will have to keep it close to my chest, but I can assure our composer friends that we have a lot more coming in the coming years and I’m sure that with their support we will be able to keep surprising and of course carry on trying to exceed their expectations.
Question 5: Any final tips and motivation you can share with the composer community?
Don’t be afraid to collaborate. I think that the idea that composer is a lone wolf is not ideal, neither from a mental health or productivity stand point. Collaborations will make you meet new people, show different outlooks and solutions to problems.
It will challenge you and help you evolve as well as make new friends, so don’t be afraid to ask other composers and musicians for assistance, discuss orchestration ideas, ask string players for their input on the score you are writing.
Visit your local chamber orchestra and ask them to sit on their rehearsals and get a feel for how each section works and finally, don’t be shy to ask them to play your music, you might be surprised with the outcome.
Learn More about Virharmonic
Visit their website to learn more about their products for composers: www.virharmonic.com
My name is Mikael “Mike” Baggström, and I am a composer, sound designer, artist, video creator, coffee lover, and true nerd…
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