Top Five Viral Videos of 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

From guerrilla choruses to Gaga getups, 2010 has seen more musicians using online video to showcase a less predictable and more approachable type of classical music. And their efforts were rewarded with millions of views from around the world. Here are our top five (plus a few bonus selections) YouTube viral videos of the year:

1. Food Court Handel

What happens when people spontaneously sing the Messiah’s Hallelujah chorus in a mall food court? People perk up from their holiday haze and pay attention both in the mall and online. The clip has attracted over 25 million viewers since its debut on YouTube one month ago. 

2. Italian Market Opera

What happens when an opera company starts singing Act I of Verdi’s La Traviata in an Italian market in Philadelphia. The same thing as singing Handel in food courts, and Carmen in a Florence market for that matter. It goes viral. It seems that performing classical music in non-classical settings is a surefire way to get online attention.

3. String Quartet def. Champions League Match

On the other hand, the same attention can come when classical music proves a foil for a soccer game-watching party. In a Heineken-sponsored hoax, over a thousand boyfriends, students and journalists proved their dedication to their girlfriends, professors and bosses when they sacrificed watching a Champions League game between AC Milan and Real Madrid to go to a classical music concert. (We may wish that the music were reward for itself, but instead it was the game and beer).

4. King Worship

Before LeBron James blew the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA title chances, made his Decision to join the Heat and broke many an Ohioans’ heart, an entire area code had worshipped this basketball player, including its world-class symphony orchestra. Last spring, the orchestra sent King James a Carmina Burana-scored love note as he led the Cavs into the playoffs.

5. Lady Gaga Saga

With a name like Breaking Wind, the four female bassoonists in the Eastman school-based ensemble must have a wicked sense of humor. When the quartet performed a fully choreographed Lady Gaga medley in full regalia (wigs, shades and lots of sparkles) it wasn’t just funny; it was inspired.

Honorable mentions:

• Jason Bateman is obsessed with classical music.

• The New York Philharmonic’s odd couple: Alan Gilbert and death as the orchestra prepared for Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre.

• The YouTube Symphony Orchestra continued to build upon a successful 2009.

More in:

Comments [7]

Michael from Scarsdale, NY

I couldn't stop smiling at the viral videos. Many thanks.

Jan. 03 2011 08:36 PM
Reginald T. Brown from Brooklyn

Thank you for the Lady Gaga Saga.

Of the wind instruments I played, my favorite was the sound and feel of the bassoon.

Jan. 01 2011 06:36 PM
Constance Dondore

I LOVED the Food Court Handel-and sent it to many of my friends!

Dec. 30 2010 10:01 AM
D.Baldinger from New York City

liked video---thank u

Dec. 30 2010 09:36 AM

Thank you for comments. Things occasionally slip by our huge (well, two-person) editing team so we appreciate readers like yourself to keep us honest.

Dec. 30 2010 07:27 AM
Bev Rice from NY,NY

what fun, thanks!

Dec. 29 2010 03:22 PM
Rosanna Hansen from Tuckahoe, NY

Your newsletter is great this month--especially the viral videos choices. Just a quick proofreading comment: Twice in the newsletter copy, the word "it's" is used incorrectly:

In Food Court Handel, the phrase "it's debut on You Tube" should read "its debut on You Tube" (without an apostrophe in "its".)

Also in King Worship: in the phrase "it's world-class symphony orchestra," the apostrophe should be deleted, to read "its."

Sorry to nit pick, but it bothered me to read these mistakes in otherwise great copy.

Thanks for a terrific website!

Dec. 29 2010 03:02 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Follow WQXR