I’ve lately been on a Youtube kick of Benjamin Zander videos.
He is the principal conductor (and founder) of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (not to be confused with the Boston Symphony). The Boston Phil is not your typical professional or amateur orchestra. From their website:
The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, founded by Benjamin Zander in 1979, features student, professional, and amateur musicians. One of Boston’s premier orchestras, the Boston Philharmonic is not your average musical ensemble; on the contrary, the Boston Philharmonic follows a vision of “passionate music making without boundaries.” To us, this means presenting top-notch music in a manner that both music aficionados and the casual listener can enjoy.
Watching some of the videos of Benjamin working with high-school and college-aged students, though, I can see how their concerts could be very enjoyable for all sorts of audiences.
Benjamin seems to be a great musician – both in his knowledge of composers and repertoire, and his ability to form connections. Not only connecting the musician with the music, but connecting the musician with the audience.
Something that is all-to-often lost in all sorts of professional musical settings.
In Benjamin’s TED Talk, he does a great job at demonstrating – to an audience of (mostly) non-musicians – both how to play musically and why classical music is so important and so universal.
If you’re a classical musician – either a performer or a teacher – and you’re feeling depressed or unenthusiastic about your field, take 20 minutes and watch this video.
If you like that, Benjamin has a lot more videos on the Boston Philharmonic Youtube channel.