Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy To Be Wrong

In one of my previous posts I mentioned (in a rather worried manner) about the dwindling interest from both audience and budding musicians in Western Classical music. I was wrong.

Two stories covered by BBC World News between yesterday and today made me realize this.

The first one was about how a publicly financed music education program in Venezuela which helps youngsters from extremely impoverished background, learn Classical music of Bach and Beethoven. The program is called El Sistema and it’s been running successfully for more than 30 years now. The program keeps these youngsters away from getting into wasteful and criminal activities like drugs and mugging and instills the ‘joy of music’ in their lives.

The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, a product of the program has been getting rave reviews across the world from the critics and all the top rated musicians. To know more about this wonderful effort you can read this
piece from BBC News.

Can we replicate the same model in India to give a boost to its own Classical music? In my mind, it can be a great way of discovering genuine talent hidden in the teaming pool of poverty in our country (40% of India lives Below Poverty Line, i.e. $1.25 a day). It may, along with the 'joy of music' give them a source of income.

The second story was about using a product of modern times to popularize Classical music. The result is the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.

The video-sharing website held a contest that allowed anyone, anywhere to upload a clip of themselves playing. A selection went to a popular vote. 90 winners from 30 different countries were flown in to play at Carnegie Hall, New York - one of the most prestigious venues in the world. The musicians came from as far away as Australia and South Korea.

The performance which happened yesterday was a great success with the Orchestra playing the works of Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Prokofiev and a new composition, appropriately called, ‘Internet Symphony No 1’. To know more about it you can read this
article from NYT.

Great way to make classical music reach a wider audience, especially the young people!

Now, I’m less worried...feel like listening to Debussy's 'Claire de lune'.