Pop meets classics in Vienna with ChamSys
Tuesday, 5 April 2022
red-bull-symphonic4Red Bull Symphonic was held on three consecutive nights at Vienna’s Wiener Konzerthaus
Austria - Designer/programmer Niklas Fuchs was called upon to light Red Bull Symphonic, an event where ‘Austropop meets Classics’, held on three consecutive February nights at Vienna’s historic Wiener Konzerthaus concert hall. In this capacity, he would have to reflect the music of a symphonic orchestra in light, in addition to supporting the usual pop and rock artists that he typically lit.
“I was asked to light the three concerts they did with Max Steiner Orchestra conducted by Christian Kolonovits,” said Fuchs. “For me it was a new challenge to design a lighting system for an orchestra, especially challenging was lighting the orchestra and the band in a way that is suitable for a TV recording as well as a live audience.”
Helping Fuchs rise to the occasion was his ChamSys PC Wing Compact and Extra Wing Compact. “I used the Extra Wing only for Master Intensity Faders and stuff that’s important for key lighting. The whole show was programmed from scratch, with the PC Wing. I didn’t use a single cue from my usual Seiler & Speer Showfile.
“A really good thing about ChamSys is that it allows you to do a lot of stuff with very little hardware,” continued Fuchs. “I’ve played headliner shows on very big stages with up to 36 DMX Universes, just with my laptop and a PC Wing. During one of those times, I would be standing between 12 full-sized lighting consoles from other major brands that cost a fortune. It was hilarious to see the stunned faces of the other LDs seeing what this ‘tiny’ setup is able to do.
“Along with my ChamSys desk, there were quite a few people who helped me at this event,” added Fuchs. “I am very happy and lucky getting support from a lot of people like Christian Kummer, who was head of the lighting crew, Robert Breunhölder, head of production for Seiler & Speer, Matthias Pfeiffer, production manager with the company System Provider, Ingeborg Doblander, head of technical production in the Wiener Konzerthaus, Martin Kames, equipment provider, and Daniel Fellner producer of Seiler & Speer.”
Given that Red Bull Symphonic was filmed to be broadcast on TV later, and in deference to the venue’s magnificent architecture with its towering Corinthian columns and august rotunda, Fuchs had to exercise discretion when placing his fixtures. Nevertheless, he was able to create an engaging lighting design that flowed effortlessly with the music whether orchestral or pop.
“I tried to design the lighting in way that would not interfere with the impressive architecture of the room,” said Fuchs. “I put lights behind pillars, uplights behind the orchestra and so on. It also was a big deal to find lights that are suitable for this project, they needed to be small and bright. As far as effects go, I really picked out some parts of the show that I deliberately did not do any, because I wanted to give the music the attention it deserves.”
The rig, which was supplied by Martin Kames, also had to be versatile for the shows, which were about 110 minutes long, and involved around 90 various musicians. Reflective of the show’s diversity, there was the largest organ in Austria, performances by the solo violinist Lidia Baich, opera singer Juliette Khalil, and Wiener Kammerchor.

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