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MAY 2011 UPDATE HOME
More May Features:

Dr. Fagan received top award
Virtual symphony a reality
Harber received Hammond Award
Professors received Research Award
Engineering student takes top prize
Professors received Teaching Award
Sorin, Powless provide advice
Two professors go ‘international’
Haddock, Spiceland received Award
Art world phenom brings exhibit
Marcus Orr Center remains magnet for critical thinking
Lights out! Conserving Energy
Names in the news

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Virtual symphony a reality for U of M music students

By Laura Fenton

In the Little Symphony, musicians live in more than 14 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 U of M Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music students Ionut Cosarca, Liviu Craciun and Ovidiu Corneanu. The project compresses dozens of videos into one musical production of Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

Ionut Cosarca, Liviu Craciun and Ovidiu Corneanu (seated) created the Little Symphony, a virtual musical production.  (Photo by Rhonda Cosentino)
Ionut Cosarca, Liviu Craciun and Ovidiu Corneanu (seated) created the Little Symphony, a virtual musical production. (Photo by Rhonda Cosentino)

“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.”

Video submissions require no auditioning, formal attire or expensive audio and video recording devices.

To submit a video to the Little Symphony Project, participants must first choose which of the five parts to play and then download the sheet music from the YouTube channel.

Once ready to record the music, each person must listen to the metronome that is provided on the site, which will help synchronize all videos. Then, press record and begin playing. Any camera in a laptop or Webcam is acceptable for recording.

After ending the recording, participants must upload the video to YouTube, send the Little Symphony the link to the video and submit a short biography and photo.

Cosarca, Craciun or Corneanu, who are all natives of Romania, then download the video and overlap them in Adobe After Effects CS5 program to create the single video.

“We arrange the videos in perspective to create the seating congregation of a real orchestra,” Cosarca said. “Then we also record the conductor from the back and from the front. It all looks very real.”

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 recording was simple, I have played before the basso continuo part of the Canon for a concert.

“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 strings of the project’s first video. I had this feeling again after watching their second video with the other participants’ submissions.”

Zaimis said he hopes the project will expand.

“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, 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 start an interactive collaborative music project online.”

Craciun also was inspired by a YouTube video by Eric Whitacre in which he created a virtual choir.

Although they have created a video of the more than 30 submissions thus far, additional musicians are still welcome to participate in the final performance.

To view the Little Symphony Project’s first video, go to www.youtube.com/user/LittleSymphony1.

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