PS22 chorus performs “Landslide” on YouTube — the best thing on YouTube

June 11, 2009

News: I was watching Nightline last night and heard about this amazing group of 5th graders at PS22 who sing in a chorus at school in Staten Island, New York. Their music teacher is Gregg Breinberg. They’ve received several million views on YouTube and have drawn attention from media and musicians alike through their postings on YouTube. Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac reportedly cried listening to this video of “Landslide” and invited the students to her concert today.

Here is their website, and YouTube channel.

Analysis: I have received many complaints on how YouTube has gone downhill to a commercialized site filled with unispired videos. While that may be happening, the PS22 videos reminded me of the amazing creative amateur spirit that first pervaded YouTube. Thanks for the reminder, kids. You are the best thing on YouTube right now.

Footnote: The always IP-sensitive Techdirt blog wonders whether the RIAA will send YouTube a DMCA notice of alleged copyright infringement to shut down the kids’ performance of copyrighted music. Well, by the positive reaction from Stevie Nicks and Tori Amos to the kids’ performance of their songs, I seriously doubt it. I have written extensively about how “informal copyright practices” fill in the gaps in copyright law, such as here where no formal license has apparently been granted but it appears the practice is accepted by the copyright holders. You can download my article “Warming Up to User-Generated Content” by clicking here.

Esmee Denters sings Stevie Wonder’s “As”

May 10, 2008

Update on Suzanna Hlinka on YouTube

December 19, 2007

News: Last week, I came across the video of this amazing pianist Suzanna Hlinka, who had just joined YouTube and posted a few videos. Her performance of Rachmaninoff was so mesmerizing I made it my selection for Video of the Week. Now, within a few days, the video has over 1,600 views.

I did some digging and found out her biography (quoted below)–it’s beyond impressive:

Pianist Suzanna Hlinka has been praised by Australia’s Courier Mail as “A prodigious talent” and for her playing style, rich with “poise and finesse.” Born into a Sydney-based musical family in 1984 she began playing the piano at the age of three under the guidance of her mother, Olga Hlinka. Her teachers have included Jana Kovar, Sue Thompson, Natasha Vlassenko, Jiri Hlinka, and Oleg Stepanov, with whom she completed her Bachelor of Music degree in 2004 at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. In the aforementioned institute Suzanna accompanied its Young Conservatorium choirs and won numerous awards including the Griffith University Award for academic excellence during three consecutive years.

Suzanna completed her Masters degree in 2007 at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague as a pupil of Peter Toperczer. Throughout her time in the Czech Republic she simultaneously held a teaching position at the International School of Music and Fine Arts Prague and was awarded for her Thesis entitled “Mathematics and Music: Connections”, the prestigious Gaudeamus (Kapsch s.r.o.) award in the competition “Ceska Hlava,” a project supporting scientific and technical intelligence in the Czech Republic. She is currently based in Bern, Switzerland.

Suzanna has been a prizewinner of the Yamaha Piano Competition in Australia, Concertino Praga International Radio Competition for Young Musicians and the Rudolph Firkusny International Piano Competition in Prague, amongst others. She has performed as a soloist with many orchestras including the Orchestra, Youth Orchestra, Conservatorium Orchestras, and the Chamber Ensemble of Queensland as well as the South Bohemian Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra. Suzanna is regularly invited to perform in festivals in Australia and Europe and has appeared on Australian and Czech television and radio such as SBS, 4EB, 4MBS, ABC, and Czech radio.

Alongside her soloist activities Suzanna devotes herself to chamber music cooperating with musicians such as Pavel Eret, Christoph Blickling and her father, Vojtech Hlinka. Suzanna has performed in Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, and Switzerland.

Analysis: I know I have a good eye for talent, but, wow, it’s just amazing to learn how accomplished this person on YouTube really is. Suzanna will be launching a website soon.

Terra Naomi headlines launch of YouTube Russia

December 11, 2007

December 11 marks the launch of YouTube in Russia. Terra Naomi will be performing at the opening in Russia.  Amazing.

Terra Naomi + Rachel Thibodeau jam session

December 2, 2007

Oprah interviews Esmee

November 6, 2007

Video click here.  Esmee was very nervous, but there’s no doubt she will be a star.

(Sorry, Oprah’s disabled the embedding of videos, so you need to click the link above.)

Esmee on Oprah

November 6, 2007

News: One of my readers commented that I should have noted that Esmee Denters will be donating all of her royalties from sales of her new song, “Crazy Place” (featured on this video) to charity. The song will be available next week on her website, Justin Timberlake and his label Tennman Records will match the amount with a donation of their own.

Analysis: It was almost a year ago when I first began writing about Esmee. Back then, she was an 18-year-old Dutch girl singing to her karaoke machine from her bedroom in her parents’ house. Now, a year later, she’s signed with Justin Timberlake’s new label and will be appearing on Oprah on Tuesday. Wow, now that’s incredible.

As I said when Esmee first announced getting signed to a music contract, I feel so happy for all the success Esmee is experiencing. It couldn’t have happened to a sweeter person. Although Esmee did once have a desire to become a social worker, my guess is that she will be able to achieve much more good through her music. What musician donates all her royalties for her first single to charity? Esmee is something special.