The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (SCO) has become the first orchestra in Germany to replace its paper sheet music with digital copies, loaded onto tablets for easy access. While the move was partially motivated by pragmatic concerns, part of the decision comes from the orchestra's approach to mitigating the effects of climate change.
There are practical advantages to the use of tablets: for instance, one set of bowings can easily be copied across all of the string parts instead of having to be written in by hand, and the differing tempi used by each new conductor can be easily passed across the whole orchestra.
"The use of tablets not only gives us access to the entire sheet music library at any time," said the orchestra's Managing Director and Artistic Director Markus Korselt. "The handling is also easier because you no longer have to turn the pages by hand, you only have to use the foot pedal."
Additionally, a comprehensive review of the ensemble's climate practices recently led to the SCO claiming to be the first orchestra in Germany to be 100% carbon neutral.
"All of the orchestra's activities were taken into account, as was the ecological footprint of the goods and services purchased," Korselt said.
Alongside donating money to a reforestation project in Uruguay, the orchestra also contributes to a tree-planting initiative in Baden-Württemberg, which has so far seen 1260 trees planted. Going digital in their use of sheet music will also allow the orchestra to use far less paper than they are at present.