|Students Ionut Cosarca, Liviu Craciun and Ovidiu Corneanu created the Little Symphony
Project, which combines music videos submitted from musicians of all ages and nationalities
In the "Little Symphony," musicians live in 30 countries, never practice together
and perform from the comfort of their own homes.
It’s not a riddle, but rather a reality titled the Little Symphony Project, which
was created by University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music students Ionut
Cosarca and Liviu Craciun and graduate Ovidiu Corneanu. The project combines dozens
of YouTube music videos submitted by musicians from around the world who are performing
Johann Pachelbel’s "Canon in D" into one video. The result is both magical and astounding.
Violinists from Russia, Japan, Hungary and the United States combine with pianists
from Greece, Singapore and China. Cellists from Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador join
flutists from Belgium, Australia and Spain and other musicians and their instruments
to create a spectacular version of "Canon in D."
"We all had noticed that classical music, in general, loses its popularity among young
people," Cosarca said. "Since we now all spend a lot of time on social networks, we
thought it would be a great idea to do a project that connects musicians from all
over the world via these networks."
The "Canon in D" video was released online Jan. 17. It features 106 instrumental and
vocal video submissions that are intertwined into one video performance of "Canon
in D." The project and video have caught the attention of many, logging more than
12,000 views from 63 countries in its first few days online.
Participants chose which of the five parts of "Canon in D" to play and then downloaded
the sheet music from the YouTube channel before recording his or her video submission.
After finishing, participants uploaded the videos to YouTube, sent the Little Symphony
coordinators the links to the videos and submitted short biographies and photos.
Cosarca, Craciun and Corneanu, who are all natives of Romania, downloaded each video
submission and overlapped them in Adobe After Effects CS5 program to create the single
"We arranged the videos in perspective to create the seating congregation of a real
orchestra," Cosarca said. "We also recorded the conductor from the back and from the
front. It all looks like a real symphony performance."
Georgios Zaimis, a pianist in Greece, decided to take part in the Little Symphony
video project after finding out about it under YouTube’s recommended videos.
"The most important [thing] I gained from being a part of this project was the creative
feeling I had after recording and joining the video with the other submissions," Zaimis
said. "I’d love to see this project continue with more compositions, even in rearranged
The idea for the project came from a lifelong desire of Cosarca, Craciun and Corneanu
to play music for people internationally.
"I have wanted to share music with people from different cultures and lifestyles,
and with people who have experienced different levels and varieties of music education,"
Corneanu said. "Traditionally, this has required money to travel to national and international
music festivals and conferences, [but] we have created a more affordable way to share
music with people."
Before starting the Little Symphony, Craciun and Cosarca began on a smaller scale
with a quartet music publishing website, www.music4four.com, which combined four performances into one video.
"We wrote various string quartet arrangements and also some orchestral works for children,"
Craciun said. "To promote our arrangements, we came up with these multi-tracking videos
on YouTube where we would play all the voices of a string quartet, just the two of
us. We also thought about making a whole orchestra and starting an interactive collaborative
music project online."
Craciun also was inspired by a YouTube video by Eric Whitacre in which he created
a virtual choir.
In about three months, a new song will be available. Cosarca, Craciun and Corneanu
have not chosen the next selection, but once they do, the submission process will
begin again. The goal is to incorporate 200 video submissions from around the world
on this project.
— by Laura Fenton