I promise to post something other than a video clip sometime soon.
This looks like a fun collaboration. Ben Folds wrote the music and Nick Hornby wrote the lyrics (author of High Fidelity, About a Boy, Fever Pitch). Probably not an album I'd buy, but this is a fun piece - something I would have liked to have cut.
My brother in law, who works at NASA, and I are planning on going to Florida in February to watch the Endeavor lift off in what will be the last American-built space shuttle launch. Bryn will certainly be there too.
I think commerce won the battle with art in this spot, but nevertheless, it's pretty good.
I watched a TED presentation a couple months ago that got me all fired up about Gustavo Dudamel, the hot young musical director of the LA Phil.
Traditionally, youth symphony orchestra competitions have been a monopoly of elites (you would have never guessed that, right?) - internationally (London, Vienna, etc) and socioeconomically. Venezuela wasn't even on the radar, let alone the poorest children in Venezuela.
Thirty-five years ago, this charismatic pianist, economist, and activist Jose Antonio Abreu founded El Sistema, an innovative youth education system, to both teach lower and middle class Venezuelan children music and to help them develop confidence, responsibility, and ultimately become thoughtful, contributing members of society.
When Abreu started the El Sistema in 1975, only 11 kids showed up to the first rehearsal. Since then, Venezuela has become one of the top five youth orchestras in the world, consistently in contention to win the "Orchestral World Cup."
Gustavo Dudamel started playing violin as a boy in El Sistema. Now he's the musical director of the LA Philharmonic and conducts the world's greatest orchestras.
I'm going to both of Dudamel's shows, chock-full of crowd pleasers, this week at the Hollywood Bowl - a nice, summery and inexpensive way to see him, as he spends most of his time at the Di$ney Concert Hall. Tuesday I'm going with friends to see him lead the LA Phil in Gershwin's "An American in Paris" and "Rhapsody in Blue." Thursday, I'm taking my mom and dad for my dad's birthday to see him do Ravel's "Bolero."