TwtrSymphony: A New Concept Orchestra

Check out TwtrSymphony on Twitter - A new way to look at performing classical music

I love Twitter. I have met some amazing people on Twitter, people who are thinking outside the box and willing to try new things.

On Saturday I posted a piece of music on this blog, New Piano Concerto in search of a Pianist & Orchestra, not because I expected to actually find an orchestra to play it, but because I want to get the word out why kind of music I am capable of writing. It has garnered a fair amount of attention and even some inquiries, which is great.

Some of my friends on Twitter chatting about the article on Saturday night. Eventually the came to the idea "We should just make our own. YouTube has a symphony. Why not Twitter?"

When I woke Sunday morning I found I'd been copied into the conversation with all sorts of ideas as to how it would work. So, I took their suggestions and creating the Twitter profile, TwtrSymphony. After a few tweets to those who'd talked about it before, posting a set of guidelines on my website for people to read (because trying to get all the concepts out in an organized fashion within 140 characters just didn't seem possible) the requests to "join" started flooding in. By the end of the day --less than 12 hours from when I created the profile --we had nearly 100 inquiries and a solid list of musicians interested in participating.

As in all things Twitter, the interest was scattered unevenly through the orchestra. We ended up with a lot of flutes and not so many violas. The next day people started asking their friends to join, spreading the word and the list of interested musicians continues to grow.

We're at the point now I'm needed to create an audition process. I'll post pdf's of the music they are to play and a "click track" with a midi example of the music they are to play with. Each musician will record their part and submit it for review. I'm even thinking I'll post the recordings with numbers so the "judging" can be done blind, no idea who is responsible for what recording.

When we have established some form of skilled level for the various musicians, I'll set about composing music for the ensemble. I'm already thinking about a nice flute choir piece to show off the large number of flutists we have and give me a way to include more people in the project. While I want to continue to push for the highest possible performers in the orchestra, there is also something to be said involving the other musicians on Twitter, getting them excited about TwtrSymphony.

There is still a long way to go! I'm sure there will be snags we run into along the way. I'm sure we're going to need a website at some point, and what happens if the music goes viral in the same way? Do we sell it on iTunes or Amazon? Who knows. I am writing this less than 36 hours from starting the organization. Before Sunday, I was certain it would be another three to four more years before an orchestra was eager to play my music. With Twitter, the distant isn't so far off and the impossible now so very real.


Chip Michael said…
Update: Less than 24 hours after I posted this and only 3.5 days since the whole TwtrSymphony thing started and I send out audition notices to the flute players. I've even had a few tweets about the music.

But even more exciting is the interest we're getting from funding - that's right FUNDING. I had three emails today which spoke of organizations wanting to "help out" financially. Yes, I'm sure there are some additional strings that come with the help. Still, in a day when major orchestra are struggling to meet their budgets, to have possibly funding when the project hasn't even fully formed is pretty exciting.

Something else I became aware of today. There are several musicians wanting to play in the TwtrSymphony who are working professionals, musicians who have jobs with professional orchestra. This means the level of playing and eventual performances is going way from my original expectations. It also means there are professional who consider this project real.


There is a lot on my plate right now. I have to get audition material out to the rest of the musicians, I've started thinking about a potential website for additional exposure and unifying the concept of who we are, and I have started thinking about money both for the musicians and operating costs. Yes, this is getting very real indeed.

Still, it's exciting to see just how motivated musicians are to do something new, innovative and wildly creative.
Chip Michael said…
Ok, two week later and I'm trying to keep track of over 250 musicians and their auditions. "Wild ride" doesn't even begin to express the feeling of what's going on.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

BTW - check out the new Tumblr page

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