A great video of music-making, with distance nullified:
Since Frank Zappa's death in 1993 his widow Gail has been the custodian of his musical legacy, and his compositions themselves. Basically, FZ's music is really difficult to play, and Gail (and one would presume Frank for that matter) doesn't want just anyone hacking through it. The question, though, is are too few people granted permission to perform it? This NPR story touches on the issue.
I have experience in this matter. I was invited by Jack Delaney, one of my teachers at my alma mater Meadows, to conduct some Zappa with the Meadows Wind Ensemble. Jack was hoping to rent several pieces, and beseiged Gail and her assistant with programs, testimonials, and recordings in an effort to convince her that the group could indeed play his music (which indeed it could). In the end Be-Bop Tango was the only piece that arrived, and I had the pleasure of conducting it. You can find an account of that experience, and a rough listening guide to the piece here.
Be-Bop Tango - Meadows Wind Ensemble
I don't think the YouTube Symphony Orchestra will have an impact on the role of concert music in American culture, or even a substantial impact on the concert music industry. In a nutshell, the novelty of the project was how the orchestra was chosen, but the concert experience that resulted was quite traditional. Yes, there were some nifty visuals, and some new music, but the audience was still expected to sit passively in America's musical temple (while the ushers fought a never-ending battle with those bold enough to take photographs of their loved ones on stage, apparently).
I can't help but feel that the project's organizers missed a golden opportunity to redefine the 21st-century concert experience. If you're going to subvert the orchestra audition process, why not subvert the whole production from beginning to end?
MUSIC CONSUMERS LIKE TO CONSUME MUSIC . . . NOT PIECES OF VINYL WRAPPED IN PIECES OF CARDBOARD.
Bonus: FZ on Crossfire in 1986.
Read more here.