MUSAIC, the New World Symphony's Online Video Learning Platform, Launches with Improvements

MUSAIC, the New World Symphony's Online Video Learning Platform, Launches with ImprovementsLimiting access initially to a small group of university and conservatory students, New World Symphony, America's Orchestral Academy (NWS), now launches its online MUSAIC platform to the general public, in partnership with nine leading universities and conservatories (http://musaic.nws.edu/). Catering to a wide demographic from high-school students and college music majors to young professional musicians and serious amateurs, MUSAIC offers 24/7 access to an extensive video catalog of classical musical instruction, advice, and insight. Among the musicians to contribute content are Michael Tilson Thomas, Thomas Hampson, Yo-Yo Ma, Paula Robison, and Gil Shaham, as well as current and former members of some of the world's leading orchestras and educational institutions.

MUSAIC seeks to build a connected world of musicians by leveraging NWS's technology, access to high-quality partner institutions and musicians, and NWS Fellows to create engaging, thoughtful content that helps developing musicians train for professional careers and classical music enthusiasts better understand the artist's perspective. MUSAIC's video catalog includes digital master classes, orchestral excerpt demonstrations, full performances, and in-depth discussions. The catalog features both live and static content. New features for the public launch include expanded live programming, a streamlined user experience, custom playlists curated by prominent teaching musicians, and improved search and browsing functionality.

The New World Symphony's nine MUSAIC Founding Partners are the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM); Curtis Institute of Music; Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester; Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London); Manhattan School of Music; the Royal Danish Academy of Music (RDAM); San Francisco Conservatory of Music; the University of Missouri-Kansas City; and the University of Southern California. Partners collaborate with the New World Symphony to capture, edit and provide video content, and as MUSAIC grows and evolves, the site will increasingly highlight the unique strengths of each institution.

"MUSAIC is a valuable resource for the aspiring orchestral musician," says John Kieser, NWS Executive Vice President and Provost. "No other site has aggregated this breadth and depth of content from so many leaders in the field. This is literally a one-stop shop for the best in performance practice, wellness, and reflections on this art. I encourage all musicians to explore and through that exploration, excel and engage."

Key features of MUSAIC include:

  • Professionally produced videos of master classes with artists including Yo-Yo Ma (on the Schumann Cello Concerto and Bach Cello Suite No. 5, among other works) and Gil Shaham (on the Brahms Violin Concerto and Ysaÿe Sonata No. 3)
  • Biographical reflections and interviews with figures such as David Del Tredici on his compositional process, Paula Robison on performing Pierrot Lunaire, and Jorja Fleezanis (former concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra) on style and musical education
  • Demonstrations of excerpts from the classical repertoire, such as Joseph Alessi (principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic) demonstrating sections of Symphonie Fantastique and Also Sprach Zarathustra, and Michael Rusinek (principal clarinet of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra) demonstrating Scheherazade
  • Instructional videos, such as Sarah Willis (Berlin Philharmonic horn player) demonstrating the "Willis grip" for stopped horn, and Frank Epstein (percussionist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra) on cymbal technique
  • Themed video playlists created by featured MUSAIC artists and NWS visiting faculty members and Fellows
  • Online "hang-outs" that allow site visitors to chat online with artists such as Michael Tilson Thomas (NWS Co-Founder and Artistic Director; San Francisco Symphony Music Director), Teddy Abrams (Louisville Symphony Music Director), Rob Knopper (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra percussionist), Reinbert de Leeuw (guest conductor who has led the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, among other ensembles), NWS Fellows, and other guest artists

An easy-to-use, intuitive search, filter, and bookmarking system enables MUSAIC visitors to explore videos relevant to their areas of interest. MUSAIC launches with a catalog of more than 800 videos featuring over 200 artists, with much more to come.

The New World Symphony began work on MUSAIC in 2009, and the project is funded by The Kovner Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

About New World Symphony
The New World Symphony, America's Orchestral Academy (NWS), prepares entrepreneurial graduates of distinguished music programs for leadership roles in professional orchestras and ensembles. In the 26 years since its inception, NWS has helped launch the careers of more than 1,000 alumni worldwide.

A laboratory for the way music is taught, presented and experienced, the New World Symphony, under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, consists of 87 young musicians who are granted fellowships lasting up to three years. Structured after the demands of a professional orchestra, the program offers in-depth exposure to traditional and modern repertoire, professional development training, and personalized experiences working with leading guest conductors, soloists, and visiting faculty. Relationships with these artists are extended through NWS's pioneering experimentation with distance learning via the Internet.

NWS Fellows take advantage of the innovative performance facilities and state-of-the-art practice and ensemble rooms of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, the campus of the New World Symphony.

In the hopes of joining NWS, more than 1,500 recent music school and conservatory graduates compete for about 35 available fellowships each year. Fellows are selected for this highly competitive, prestigious opportunity based on their ability and their passion for the future of classical music.

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