Oh my gosh...Dvorak 9 ::drool::

The other day I thought about going off-line, cold turkey. No Facebook, no blog. Just for awhile, to remember what life used to be like.

Then three things happened.

First, I beat my friend Sharon in Scramble. She’s a formidable opponent, and this made me feel smart. Second, I heard that Aaron Sorkin is writing a movie about Facebook. This piqued my interest. Third, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra launched its own Facebook page last week and a blog to boot.

The RPO’s blog is run by the hard-working marketing staff. The first entry was basically an ad for the RPO’s upcoming season. The second entry, posted weeks later, solicits memories of Rochester’s Eastman Theatre. The RPO’s Facebook page has 182 fans.

More and more American orchestras are experimenting with social media to reach younger audiences. I took a quick tour this morning to see what’s out there.

The Nashville Symphony Facebook face boasts 514 fans, but little conversation. I thought things would be more exciting over at the Seattle Symphony’s Facebook page, since the Pacific Northwest orchestra has been plagued by scandal and discontent under its music director, Gerard Schwarz. But the official Facebook group of the Seattle Symphony shows only two boring wall posts. The most interesting thing on this site was seeing that once a month, a Seattle Facebook fan will win free concert tickets. If airfare was included, I'd join up myself.

Things are much spicier on the New York Philharmonic's Facebook page with 3,716 fans who aren’t afraid to speak up:

“When is NY comin out with another kickass CD?”

“MAHLER NINE ON FRIDAY BABY WOOOOOO!”

“Sibelius 1st. incredible!”

The savvy New Yorkers administering this site run photo contests, provide weather alerts for outdoor concerts, and even offer some “Facebook events” just for on-line fans.

The Cleveland Orchestra’s Facebook fans also write entertaining comments. It’s not an endorsed site, and the posts are wide-ranging.

“Oh my gosh...Dvorak 9 ::drool:: Lord of the Rings Symphony- conducted by HOWARD SHORE- ::drool:: BRUCKNER 7- AMAZING!!! I love the Cleveland Orchestra!” gushed a high-schooler.

“Why doesn't Franz grow a sack and do Tristan in concert?” asked another fan.

Does that mean what I think it means?

I think the potential for listeners to shape repertoire is fascinating. Facebook may be the best place created – so far – for orchestras to hear the desires of audience members.

But why just listen, anyway, when you can join the Facebook Symphony Orchestra?

“With 28,000+ members, some luck, and lots of ambition, we can be the FIRST philharmonic formed through the internet,” the site claims.

It seems anyone can join! Even me!

Here are the qualifications:

“IF YOU:
- PLAY violin, viola, cello, bass, piccolo, flute, oboe, english horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon, trumpet, french horn, trombone, tuba, saxophone, piano, organ, harpsichord, celeste, marimba, harp, timpani, percussion, or any other instrument found in a symphony orchestra
- SING in a choir/chorus
- CONDUCT orchestra, band, ensembles
- COMPOSE for orchestra or orchestral instrument ensembles
- LISTEN to or ATTEND orchestral performances
- ARE INTERESTED in learning a musical instrument
THIS GROUP IS FOR YOU!!!”

No time to tape my audition video today. I really have to unplug and head outside. A windstorm knocked out power to 45,000 people last night, and the yard is littered with leaves and branches.

But before I go, don’t forget that the Yo-Yo Ma concert airs tonight (Monday) at 8:00 p.m. on Classical 91.5 (or streaming.)

Don’t miss it!!! Oh my gosh...Dvorak cello concerto ::drool:: conducted by CHRISTOPHER SEAMAN ::drool:: The Peacock Variations - AMAZING!!! I love the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra!!!! ;)