I’m four days late on this, but better late then never: votes are on for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. They started on Feb 14th and will on go till the 22th. Over 3000 contestants applied and submitted their videos to youtube and now only 200 semi-finalists have been selected for the public voting phase. Absolutely anyone can cast a vote and play a role in the elaboration of the YouTube’s first ever orchestra that will perform a Tan Dun composition at the Carnegie Hall on April 16th.
Check it out here: www.youtube.com/symphony
When I did my first post on this event, I guess I didn’t really have an opinion besides the fact that it would probably be successful. I don’t see it failing, but I now ‘feel’ a certain level of absurdity behind the recruiting method. I’m listening to a pianist performing some Beethoven while I’m writing this post. Before that, I listened to some flutes, violas and violins, and all in all I’m having a pretty hard time voting down :)
I have been playing music for quite some years and know people who make a living out of it. I also know some people who are trying to make it in the classical scene. I have extensively worked as a sound engineer and composer on different projects and have been surrounded by musicians all my life (some of which I consider to be true geniuses and others average amateurs). Well even with my musical background and my understanding of the art, I find it hard to be properly subjective in the time frame I allow myself to spend on this Youtube orchestra thing. I don’t believe people that know nothing else about music than the top-40 charts will willingly spend time listening to these classical pieces, but some will, and I truly think many voters will be more influenced by the pretty face of a girl participant than by the quality and subtlety of her playing. And if there aren’t any pretty girls or young prodigy’s, people will tend to listen only to the videos that are on top of their list (the lists of vids hopefully mix-up everytime you refresh the page).
Speaking of misleading criteria, by the very nature if the recruiting process participants recorded their performances with whatever recording material they could get their hands on. Well some recordings are crappy and distorted. Now you have to truly be passionate and a real adept of classical music to feel the subtle differences between an orchestra directed by lets say Karajan and Furtwngler. Well the same basically applies for the musicians – how can one cast a proper vote with audio glitches, slow buffering and horrible audio compression? Well they can’t.
Maybe I’m a little too extreme here and maybe the large majority of the voters will be true musicians from the classical realm, and maybe this whole recruiting 2.0 process is all mighty and revolutionary (argh! again in the extremes). Ok, simply put, maybe the chosen artists will make up for a beautiful orchestra and their performances will be a true success. After all they all sound like frigin’ pros.
Actually I’m more confused about my opinion after having written this post than before. What’s your take on this?
I’ll leave you to the performance that impressed me the most: