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PHOENIX: November 12, 2015 Download this press release >

World’s first complete miniature symphony orchestra printed in 3-D

One-of-a-kind model represents the sights and sounds of a modern symphony.

PHOENIX (Nov. 12, 2015) – Nearly everyone has heard orchestral music in film, television, radio or even video games, but not everyone has attended a live orchestral performance and enjoyed its dynamic visual elements. A new display in MIM’s Europe Gallery uses state-of-the-art technology to deliver a multisensory orchestral experience to guests via the world’s first complete miniature symphony orchestra printed in 3-D.

Enlisting the help of London-based musicians, many of whom are members of the London City Orchestra, the Musical Instrument Museum used 3-D printing technology to illustrate the expansive size and typical seating configuration of a large symphony orchestra.

Although it had been a project in the works for several years, it was the advent of 3-D printing and its improved technology that enabled my3Dtwin, a studio in London, England, that specializes in 3-D printed figurines, to tackle this project and provide the level of detail required to accurately represent each instrument.

Every figurine is 3-D printed in color and no two figures are alike. Each musician was photographed in a special 360-degree photo booth with cameras arranged in every possible angle to capture the musicians and their instruments. The resulting photos were translated into a digital rendering that was then printed as a 1/12 scale “twin” of the musician, meaning a sitting musician with a viola is four and one-half inches in height and a standing bass player is six inches. Built layer by layer of plaster of paris, each twin emerged in full color from a 3-D printer.

The figures sit atop an 84-inch monitor donated by NEC Display Solutions. The monitor lights up as audio of each instrument plays, highlighting the major sections of the orchestra. Over the course of four minutes, guests are taken on a journey around the orchestra, hearing audio excerpts from standard orchestral works. In this way, the display illustrates the number and variety of instruments, how they are held, how the orchestra is configured, and what the performers wear—all combined to create a multisensory orchestral experience.

MIM extends a special thank-you to NEC Display Solutions and TSI Touch for the generous technology donations used to create the orchestra’s stage and to the 3-D printing talent of my3Dtwin.


About MIM
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) enriches the world by collecting, preserving and making accessible a wide variety of musical instruments and performance videos from every country in the world. MIM offers guests a welcoming and fun experience, incomparable interactive technology, dynamic programming and exceptional musical performances. MIM also fosters appreciation of diverse cultures around the globe by showing that we all innovate, adapt and learn from each other to create music—the language of the soul.

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Media Contact
Carlotta Soares, Interim Media Relations Manager, MIM