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Online visit to the Berlin Philharmonic

The renowned concert hall now forms part of the Google Art Project, a platform which hosts images of art and architecture from well-known opera houses, theatres and concert halls.

The founder of the project, Amit Sood (also Director of the Google Cultural Insitute), announced in Berlin on Tuesday that around 60 institutions from 20 countries are involved. The Berlin Philharmonic provides a virtual tour through the concert hall. Viewers, in a 360-degree video, can watch Simon Rattle conducting, or learn about the history of the orchestra.

The media library is accessible online, and has contributions from the Opéra National de Paris, Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company as well as US institutions Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera. The Berlin State Opera has also contributed photos of the building's renovation.

Cellist and media representative for the Berlin Philharmonic, Olaf Maninger, sees the project as an opportunity to reach out to a wider audience. Maninger feels that classical music has become somewhat of a niche market. Online platforms are needed to target classical music lovers all over the world.

Google did not comment on the cost of the new media library. The Google Cultural Institute is a non-profit organization and will cover the costs, according to Amit Sood. The goal is to provide education and culture. The project will, of course, boost the brand as well. Google is already working together with museums and has displayed parts of the exhibition at Munich's Deutsches Museum online.

ks/ at (dpa)