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YouTube online-competition among composers

Updated on July 15, 2014

Is it easy to become a composer of world-wide fame ?

When an inspired composer is in the process of artistic creation, the last thing to think about for him is what destiny the fruits of his creation would encounter. However, let's not conceal the fact that each one of us would finally desire to get the deserved recognition as a reward for our diligence. We would like to share the results with the listeners, at least, but of course a better aim is to rest on our laurels fully immersed into the favorite activity. In fact, is it that easy nowadays? Sitting in the habitual training auditorium or on the concert stage, or, who knows, maybe at home on the cozy sofa, a composer keeps fiddling with his faithful instrument, getting more absorbed in the magic sounds and less imagining how to convey those very sounds to the rest of the world. Joy and doubts hover in his head - joy for artistic self-actualization and doubts for the vague future. The thing is that the well-trodden scenario of getting through to the public by means of traditional concert performances no longer seems to be fruitful. And that is exactly where one starts pondering over alternative ways to sound in everyone's hearing. So what are the chances of becoming a worldwide-known composer?

"Music revolution" in Russia?

In the not so distant past not so many people could make their way to the Russian music arena. Being rich in young talented composers, Russia still couldn't provide them with enough opportunities to reveal that very talent and to become more noticeable. However, on the Sept 9th, 2010 an official event took place that many critics tend to compare with a music revolution in that spacious country. "YouTube composers' competition" was held - a contest that let Russian composers present their music to the Internet audience of many millions and get their recognition.

The idea to organize such a unique and unprecedented event belongs to the well-known company Google. One of the biggest web companies decided to focus on a pretty broad and specific community of users - Russian-speaking connoisseurs of modern academic music. From all appearances, Google has its own plans in this sphere, because shortly before the announcement of the competition it created its own orchestra by analogy with the well-known BBC Symphonic Orchestra. Back then more than 3000 applications were submitted to the competition, and after the online voting at the YouTube website 90 winners from 30 countries were chosen.

Conditions of the Competition

It goes without saying that the Russian composers’ competition enjoyed a somewhat less impressive swing. A bit more than 200 scores were considered and the number of finalists amounted to 13 people. The contest was held in two phases at the territory of the Russian Federation at the YouTube from 01.03.2010 till 09.09.2010.

In order to avoid rumors about the digitalization of classical music, Google prohibited the participation of electronic instruments in the competition. All in all, the critics highlight very professional work of jury that was exclusively represented by competent musicians and was headed by the outstanding conductor Theodor Kurentzis, who also was the artistic director of the project. Another remarkable thing to point out was the fact that there was no first prize awarded. According to the members of the jury, that prize should go to a composition that can turn the world of music upside down, but such chef-d'oeuvres are rarely born. Notwithstanding, the prizes for the finalists were more than decent. The opuses of the winners were performed in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall by the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Theodor Kurentzis, and a renowned record label released a respective CD.

An obvious advantage of the choice of competition’s format is free, wide and easy accessibility. At the time when the competition took place not only did YouTube traffic skyrocket but the resource also obtained a new target audience segment, as many musicians who earlier never used YouTube have now joined the Network specially to take part in the competition and get free access to a broad audience of their fans. Isn’t that what’s called happiness for a committed composer?

About Participants

It became possible to get recognition by having presented your composition online. Take a look at the figures yourself. For instance, "Winter bells" by Polina Nazaikina got 23 428 views, "Selima and Gassan" by Peter Pospelov - 15 388 vies, "Initiation" by Dmitri Capyrin - 10 646 views. And those figures are ever growing. That's not something you would see at traditional classical concerts, that are most often attended by friends, colleagues, relatives, some representatives of the mass media and just a couple of "strangers". Now these composers have thousands of fans and supporters who are ready to discuss their favorite pieces endlessly.

One should mention the fact that such a forum helps drawing attention to talented composers whose creative activity is at the very peak of modern trends and thus does not always find a broad response among the masses. For example, the composer Dmitri Capyrin entered his chamber symphony No 2 "Initiation". The music that was composed in commemoration of E. Denisov's 75th anniversary stirred up a lot of contradictory opinions, but what's important, it didn't leave anyone indifferent. Music compositions by Capyrin have been featured in a variety of concert and festival venues, including the Moscow Autumn, the Paris Presences, the Zagreb Biennale and others. Participation in the competition proves the interest of contemporary composers for using Internet space for promoting their work. Alongside with uploading the videos of their performances on YouTube, a lot of composers resort to web resources to publish their sheet music in the Internet. For instance, music scores by Dmitri Capyrin are available for downloading at the MusicaNeo portal that is the leader in the sphere of online sheet music publication and whose time-proved services have been appreciated by many modern composers from all over the world.

What made it so successful?

Well, summing it up, it would be safe to assume that the experiment passed with flying colors. Even the apprehension about the unprofessional orientation of the competition that was caused by the unusual place of its holding proved wrong. First of all, the very name of the Google brand implies serious intentions. Secondly, one can blame the jury headed by Theodor Kurentzis for anything but the lack of professionalism. And finally, one can be surprised by the active discussion on YouTube, the members of which are not just amateurs but really competent people, people who value modern classical music, new music that has no definition yet. And only due to the help of such outstanding resources as Google, YouTube, MusicaNeo, it's getting easier to become familiar with this sort of music every day. Internet opens up new opportunities and, therefore, new perspectives for musicians. Today digital publication of sheet music and online applying for participation in a worldwide contest no more seem so unreal, as they used to not so long ago. So can a composer gain world fame thanks to such projects? I guess the answer is obvious.

2nd Prize

Vladimir Gorlinski – PARAMUSIC

2nd Prize

Natalya Prokopenko – ARCHAI

3rd Prize

Kirill Umanski – STEPPE NIGHT

Share your opinion!

Do you think the new format of music competitions has future?

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      rewards4life info 6 years ago

      Yes I think it could do, like most things it would need to evolve but it could be a beneficial way to get music to the masses. Music can change people and almost everyone can find enjoyment from it, if not creating it then listening to it. Technology is changing and this seems like a good, low cost way to allow people from around the World to enjoy something we otherwise would never see. Great lens very interesting.