It's summer and I am still missing orchestra. Back in March when the South Bay Philharmonic cancelled our first concert, we rescheduled it for June 19. That date has also come and gone now too with no concert.
As an amateur musician who still has a job, I don't have much to complain about. As has been discussed on this site, classical musicians are one of the groups hardest hit by the pandemic. This article was written back in March, but 3 months later, not much has changed: Classical Musicians Say Coronavirus Cancellations are Financially Catastrophic. With live concerts still being cancelled for safety reasons, musicians have lost most of their paying gigs. Teaching is still happening, and a bright spot is the rising of online music ensembles.
The L O V E Project 2020 stands for "Liquid Open Viral Ensemble." It is the world's largest online symphony orchestra. I found out about it on Facebook about a month ago. Their goal is to have 1000 musicians playing Mozart's Magic Flute Overture. As their website says,
[O]nce there was a quarantined violist from COVID-19! . . . The violist begins to wonder how music could go on in these conditions; and in these conditions he thinks of an idea to let the music start again while the whole world is waiting.
I especially love that it started with a quarantined violist. We violists do tend to think outside the box! It sounds a little like a viola joke gone right for a change. My own community orchestra has also been doing some of these types of videos, (as I blogged about in April) so I already knew how to make a video of myself playing the viola part while watching the conductor and listening to a track on earbuds.
It's really hard to get such a video perfect, though, especially for a piece that is over 7 minutes long. After practicing several days, I did 4 or 5 takes, and they all ended up with different mistakes. I finally submitted one with 2 mistakes. The mistakes are in places where the viola part is in the background, either scrubbing away with repeated 16th notes to add some drive, or drowned out by the winds. It'll add authenticity--live performances are rarely perfect anyway. And with 999 other musicians (139 other violists), I'm sure I'm not the only one.
When I submitted my music video I was also asked to make this invitation video. It felt a little cringey to record it at first, but I found I really enjoyed watching everyone else's, which you can find on this YouTube Channel, so it was worth getting over that self-conscious feeling.
They have started putting the videos they have together, but they haven't received all 1000 yet. The deadline is July 6th. There are already musicians from around the world, and many different countries, including Italy, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Monaco, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine, China, Malaysia, Japan, Brazil, Venezuela, Canada, and all over the USA including here in Silicon Valley. They still need string players, especially violin IIs. So there is still time to send in your video!
There is something amazing about all of these musicians, young and old, amateur and professional, coming together to play this masterwork of Mozart's.
“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”--Kahlil Gibran
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