Orchestrating Answers on YouTube
Posted by Allison Fine on April 17, 2009
But, here’s my new favorite video, the Internet Global Symphony Mashup, a compilation of the virtual auditions YouTube sponsored.
In her brilliantly titled post, “How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall? Upload Upload Upload,” Beth describes the process that led to this mashup:
“The YouTube Symphony Orchestra released the first performance, a premiere of the Tan Dun composition “Internet Symphony, Eroica” The performers were selected from thousands of video auditions from around the globe. The finalists winnowed down by a jury of professional musicians, not unlike a traditional audition, but the winners were crowdsourced by YouTube users via online voting. The resulting “mashed up” symphony orchestra, had more than 90 players representing over 30 countries.”
The mashup video is a beautiful piece of artistry in its own right. And it naturally leads to questions of whether and how video auditions and virtual orchestras might aid an ailing arts community in the future. But I need to catch myself before I go too far down that pathway. It’s too darn easy to race into a cul de sac of zero-sum questions of whether virtual orchestras are better or worse than live ones, rather than a more productive conversation (even if it’s in my own head where I have a lot of conversations!) of how social media can improve and augment orchestras and create a better experience or the players and the audience and a more sustainable model in the future.
Will blogs replace newspapers? Will YouTube replace the local symphony orchestra? Will the Kindle replace printed books? Those are questions perched precariously on a platform of fear and anxiety and despair, rather than explorations of how we can create new and better models. Maureen Dowd’s column on Wednesday was just this kind of thinking; look at how Google is destroying journalism! Oh, MoDo, say it ain’t so. I know you’re scared, I’m scared for you, and newspapers and arts orgs. But journalism isn’t under assault, the business model that depends almost entirely on paid advertisements and classified ads is. The models that were teetering on irrelevance got kicked in the stomach first and hardest by the recession. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need arts and journalism – we just need them in different forms; slimmed down financially and people-wise, beefed up social media-wise.
So, back to our virtual orchestra. Let’s brainstorm; what could be better about orchestras in the future using social media:
- As Beth points out, this could be a lighter, less expensive auditioning process for the future. Virtual auditions would be good for orchestras that could do first-cuts by video, good for auditioners who wouldn’t have to spend the time and money to travel to auditions and have everyone watch them sweat for eight hours.
- Virtual orchestras could give audiences a preview of upcoming performances with comnentary by conductors and links to references so that the watchers could become as well informed as the players. This would be really helpful to educate younger audience members and remind performing arts orgs (who, sadly, seem to need this kind of reminding a lot) that not everyone comes to their live performances fully educated on the works.
- Virtual performances could allow composers to try out new works much less expensvely. It could also allow players to practice new works and get feedback less expensively via social media.
- Finally, of course, social media lets the rest of us who can’t participate in a live performance share in a syphony’s beauty and joy.
This past Wednesday, the YouTube Orchestra, performers selected by the YouTube community plus members of the world’s finest orchestras, performed live at Carnegie Hall. Enjoy!
This entry was posted on April 17, 2009 at 6:00 am and is filed under Social Media. Tagged: beth kanter, Internet Global Symphony Mashup, Maureen Dowd, Susan Boyle, You Tube. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
One Response to “Orchestrating Answers on YouTube”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.