More on the YouTube Symphony Orchestra

The internet is probably sick of hearing about the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, but I’ve been reading some more responses and realized I have a little more to say. 

I was struck by this point made at Adaptistration:

“Think of it this way: Does anyone remember the first orchestra to be broadcast on television? How about the first orchestra to release a recording on CD or record directly to digital? Me neither; and that is exactly where I think this YouTube project will end up.”

True.  But what would classical music be if nobody ever thought to try broadcasting on television or releasing a recording on CD?

Is the idea of a “YouTube musical ensemble” the way of the future? Probably not. But finding ways to integrate new media into the traditional format of an orchestra probably is. And the fact that major organizations (LSO, Berlin Phil, Carnegie, NY Phil, BBC, Rotterdam…) and established musicians (Michael Tilson Thomas, Tan Dun, Lang Lang, Gergiev) are getting behind it is huge. Chances are that smaller, grass-roots organizations could do a better job thinking about this–but these giants are are the only ones with enough influence to make it happen. For now at least.

Yes it is an incredibly successful marketing stunt, but it’s also stirring up all sorts of healthy dialogue.

Give the YouTube Symphony Orchestra a break. Some day we might laugh at its flaws. More likely we won’t remember it. But most likely it will do more good than harm.


~ by ohactually on December 9, 2008.

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