Take a seat with the symphony

Did you ever wonder what an orchestral conductor and his exertions look like from the players' vantage point? Here's your chance to find out.

The Charlotte Symphony will let listeners this week sit in a new location: onstage.

The Bach and Beethoven works on the agenda don't demand a stageful of players. So the orchestra will sell tickets to seats behind the orchestra.

From there, the orchestra will sound more "visceral," said executive director Jonathan Martin. He said he has tried it.

"What you're going to hear is a great deal of immediacy and a lot of volume," Martin said. On the other hand, he added, the sound won't be as "blended" as what the audience out in the auditorium hears.

Bringing listeners onstage is part of the effort to "make the orchestra more accessible and more connected with audiences," Martin said. Banking on the popularity of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, the orchestra will perform the program three nights - adding Thursday to the usual Friday-Saturday pair.

Putting part of the audience onstage won't be feasible at every concert, Martin said. But the orchestra is looking for more opportunities.

"We'll learn from this first weekend," Martin said. "I think we're going to want to do this as much as we can."