University of Memphis Magazine
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Spring 12 Features


Earning His Stripes
Walkin' in Memphis
Class of His Own
Pieces of Home
Blasts from the Past

Make it your Biz
Virtual Symphony
Lambuth Campus enrollment
100 Women
Planting Seeds
Johnson leaves impact
Sherrod's feats
Blending the Blues
'Up-and-down' Career Ride

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U of M Video
U of M Video Experience the virtual symphony here.
Virtual symphony a reality for U of M music students
 U of M students Ionut Cosarca, Liviu Craciun and Ovidiu Corneanu
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 into one
performance video.

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 performance.

"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 forms."

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,, 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
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Last Updated: 4/17/12