Thanks Wheat for posting about Keyboard's Virtual Orchestra issue. This month's Keyboard ias great information covering Virtual Orchestras, Notation and Orchestra and Scoring for TV.
Ernie Rideout's editorial "Make the Unreal More Real" starts out the issue with some astute observations. He mentions how the virtual orchestra has become a reality and gives a preview of the information covered in this issue. Also, the editor writes "Even the most versatile virtual orchestra running on the most well-oiled machine (virtual oil, please) won't help you to get good music out the door if you don't know your way around the orchestra". The importance of education was stressed and the online orchestration course on this forum was mentioned. The editor also recognized the importance of hiring real players "Go and find yourself a real orchestra. I'm not kidding. There are over 1,800 symphony orchestras...the bulk are community orchestras, youth symphonies, chamber orchestras...There's gotta be one in your neighborhood. Go to their rehearsals...Sit really close. And listen like crazy". Very astute advice! I am glad amongst the array of orchestral sample libraries that the focus on real musicians and that real orchestras is not lost.
The article "The Best and the Brightest", a Virtual Orchestra Roundup, discusses orchestral libraries over $1000 (VSL, Sonivox and EW) and Orchestras under $1,000 (HALionSO, Miroslav, MOTU and GPO). The article does a very good job is assessing the strengths of the various libraries.
"Virtual Orchestras Made Easy" is this issue is an article about notation and orchestral playback. Since GPO pioneered the field of notation and playback, there was a great deal of information about GPO and its integration with Finale and Sibelius. There's also excellent coverage about the groundbreaking Notion notation program with its integrated orchestral sounds.
This article also had a sidebar about the free Online Interactive Orchestration course that is offered on this forum and concludes by recognizing our community : "you'll find an avid community of composers and orchestrators participating in discussion and competitions."
It is really amazing how far we have come. A few years back all of this would have seemed like science fiction. And what's to come in the near future will be astonishing.
Yet it is important to keep a focus on the role of education and real musicians. It's a great time to be a musician.
If you are not a subscriber I urge you to go to your newsstand and get his month's issue of Keyboard Magazine.