A Classical Trove on YouTube

Email a Friend

Ok, I admit it. One of my guilty pleasures is getting lost on YouTube. While I hear most of America zeros in on cats doing funny things or the latest teenager doing something stupid, I find myself drawn to old TV shows. How could you not watch Salvador Dali on What's My Line? These clips give us a window into a different time and culture and there’s plenty about classical music to watch.

I was spellbound in discovering John Cage on I've Got a Secret. They don’t even play the game or try to guess his "secret"; they just let him play his music in a studio full of props. It is very early performance art. I loved seeing a very young Seiji Ozawa on What's My Line with Woody Allen on the panel and an extremely funny Van Cliburn on the same show. We hardly see classical music on prime-time TV anymore.

Recently some of the many talent shows have included pianists and singers, which is great. But there was a time when classical musicians were on all the time, particularly The Ed Sullivan Show. Click below to see Itzhak Perlman at 19, or Anne Akiko Meyers at 11 with Johnny Carson. I had a TV show on A&E for more than 12 years featuring some of the best in classical music. One viewer posted an episode featuring Lang Lang’s first time on American television. Let’s just say we were both younger then.

I knew the music from Lieutenant Kije, but have you seen the Russian movie from 1934? Well truth be told, I have not sat through the whole thing either, but you could, because it is online.

Below are some of my favorite online video links. What are yours? Please share your favorites, guilty pleasures, rarities and surprises.


John Cage on I’ve Got a Secret:

Marilyn Horne on the TV Show The Odd Couple:

Van Cliburn playing at the Tchaikovsky Competition:

Van Cliburn on What's My Line:

Itzhak Perlman at 19 on The Ed Sullivan Show:

Lang Lang on Breakfast with the Arts:

Salvador Dali on What's My Line: