Young virtuosos going global Young classical musician and competitor of the 'Virtuosos' talent show, Lajos Tamas Petres plays for the jury on a piano during the recording of the show in the studio of the Hungarian State Television in Budapest, Hungary on Saturday April 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky/Thinkstock)
Young virtuosos going global
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The latest hot new television creation is a Hungarian talent show for young classical musicians and it's on the verge of being replicated around the world.
 
The creators of "Virtuosos" have signed a deal with Dick Clark Productions, the company behind the American Music Awards, to license the format of the successful Hungarian program internationally.
 
Dick Clark Productions said there's interest in the show from China and Japan and the company is working on a deal with U.S. networks.
 
"We believe we may have a U.S. launch simultaneously with one of the other territories," DCP executive Mark Rafalowski told The Associated Press. "There are very few things outside of sports that can attract a multi-generational audience. Youth competitions done right, especially music, are one of those things."
 
Mariann Peller, creator and producer of "Virtuosos" and an experienced concert promoter, said she was motivated after noticing that few young people were listening to or performing classical music.
 
"I saw only gray hairs in the orchestra and the auditorium," Peller said. "One of the aims of the program is to make classical music trendy."
 
On a recent visit to Hungary, Placido Domingo praised "Virtuosos" for allowing young classical musicians the chance to compete in a type of program usually reserved for pop music.
 
In Hungary, the first season of "Virtuosos" was a huge hit for state television in 2014. Recording is underway for its second season - nine episodes lasting an average of 90 minutes, including a gala event. The 81 participants in the initial rounds came from over 2,200 musicians in three age groups.
 
In the first round, instrumentalists and singers perform solo or with minimal accompaniment. Semifinalists are backed by a chamber ensemble and this season's finalists in each age group - elementary school, high school or music universities - will have access to Hungary's National Philharmonic Orchestra.
 
Peller said Hungary's deep musical traditions - Budapest's international airport is named after famed composer and piano virtuoso Ferenc (Franz) Liszt - offered a wide talent pool for the program. She said applications to music schools in Hungary increased 14 percent last year, attributing it to the show's popularity.
 
"Virtuosos" has also set up a foundation to assist the careers of the participants, not just the finalists, helping the musicians buy instruments and organizing some 300 concerts for them from New York to Tokyo.
 
"'Virtuosos' is different from other talent shows in that we have a mission," Peller said. "We made it an objective not to let go of the children's hands but to continue and build their careers."
 
Future editions of the program aim to discover talents in jazz, world music, conducting and film score composition.
 
The program has already expanded its scope, including performers with Hungarian roots from outside the country in the second season. Musicians from neighboring countries like Romania and Slovakia, which have large ethnic Hungarian communities, and from even farther locations like Belgium and China, appeared in the initial rounds.
 
With Hungarian television now dominated by game shows, reality shows and talent contests licensed from foreign productions, Peller was proud that "Virtuosos" was going global.
 
"It is a great joy for us that a Hungarian format can finally set foot abroad," Peller said. "I am very happy to put this talent show format in the hands of professionals who will make a worldwide show out of it."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why was “Virtuosos” a hit in Hungary?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (4)
  • holdeno-3-bar
    5/26/2016 - 04:08 p.m.

    "Virtuosos" was a hit in Hungary because many of the competitors were from the country. The author said that "Hungary's deep musical traditions [...] offered a wide talent pool for the program" (par. 10) With Hungary's airwaves dominated by game shows, audiences naturally preferred a show from home. This caused it to become popular throughout the country.
    This article was slightly boring. Although I play two instruments and am a fan of classical music, this did not pique my interest.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    6/08/2016 - 12:35 p.m.

    I think that it is amazing for young people to share their talent. The creators of "Virtuosos" have signed with Dick Clark Productions. The creator and producer was inspired to make this television creation when she didn't see any children in a classical performance. I don't really like to listen to classical music because it is a little boring but I know there are some that are really good and are created by famous musicians. The objective of the "Virtuosos" is to help childrens' careers and try to build it up. They are kind of like a talent show but they do way more. They are trying to expand their scope to many countries and bring in more children. Virtuosos is going global so many people can see the show and be inspired by it. I think that this will help many people and inspire others because these young children are getting benefited and they are showing what they can do.
    Virtuosos was a hit in Hungary because there were participants from over two thousand two hundred musicians and there were three age groups.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    7/31/2016 - 12:58 a.m.

    "Virtuosos" sounds like a very honorable TV show. Unlike reality TV or other game shows without a point, "Virtuosos" works to highlight the talent of all ages and the beauty of classical music. If the U.S. were ever to make its own version of the show, I would definitely by searching for clips on YouTube. The cool thing about music, especially instrumental, is that it can have meaning to all who listen. Music without lyrics has no limits because it can be understood by anyone who turns an ear to listen.

  • laureng-arl
    8/03/2016 - 07:15 p.m.

    I believe it was a big hit because the Hungary population was seeing people from their own country on the television. In society today it is discouraging to not see a lot of diversity . However it is inspiring to see a well balanced diverse population on your own personal social media.

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