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
Lexile

The latest hot new television creation is a Hungarian talent show for young classical musicians. Now it is 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. Company executives said they are working on a deal with U.S. networks.
 
"We believe we may have a U.S. launch simultaneously with one of the other territories," 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 is the creator and producer of "Virtuosos."  She is an experienced concert promoter. She 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. There will be 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. 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. She attributed the increase to the show's popularity.
 
"Virtuosos" has also set up a foundation. It assists the careers of the participants, not just the finalists. The foundation helps the musicians buy instruments. It has organized 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. It has included performers with Hungarian roots from outside the country in the second season. Musicians have come from neighboring countries like Romania and Slovakia. Those countries have large ethnic Hungarian communities. A few participants have come from farther locations like Belgium and China.
 
Hungarian television is dominated by game shows, reality shows and talent contests licensed from foreign productions. That is why 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 (13)
  • audreyv-4-bar
    5/26/2016 - 06:38 p.m.

    "Virtuosos" was a hit in Hungary, because it's " a Hungarian talent show for young classical musicians."(paragraph 1) Seeing talented people from your own country can personally strike your interests, and be more appealing; since it may feel more personal. By seeing people of your own ethnicity, who are extremely talented, it could make you feel extremely proud. I found this article very interesting, because it shows how a simple TV show topic, can become very successful.

  • karliw-1-bar
    5/26/2016 - 08:26 p.m.

    Virtuosos was a national hit in Hungary because of the country's strong attachments to music.Mariann Peller, the creator and producer of "Virtuosos" ,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 also included that applications to music schools in Hungary increased 14 percent last year. She attributed the increase to the show's popularity.

  • carlym-4-bar
    5/26/2016 - 10:47 p.m.

    Virtusos was a hit in Hungary because they allowed young musicians to audition to compete in a program for pop music. "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."
    I enjoyed this article because I found it interesting that Virtusos went global.

  • caleighm-4-bar
    5/26/2016 - 10:49 p.m.

    "Virtuosos" was a hit in Hungary because it is a show that is directed at a wide, multi-generational audience. It was also a hit because there are no other shows like it out there. Televised musical competitions are usually reserved for pop music, and "Virtuosos" is the first to be solely for classical musicians. Most people do not listen to classical music very often, and this show gives people the opportunity to watch young professionals excel at their forte, no pun intended.

    I chose this article because as a pianist who plays classical music, I thought it was very cool to have a show where young classical musicians compete.

  • katherinep-6-bar
    5/27/2016 - 12:12 a.m.

    Hungary's deep musical traditions can contribute to the high ratings of "Virtuosos". Hungarian television is dominated by game shows, reality shows and talent contests licensed from foreign productions. That is why Peller was proud that "Virtuosos" was going global.

  • adamp-3-bar
    5/27/2016 - 12:19 a.m.

    "Virtuosos" are a hit in Hungary because it is something fun for people to do. Peller said, "It is a great joy for us that a Hungarian format can finally set foot abroad." This quotes explains that Hungarian families like virtuosos because they are a lot of fun. In conclusion, Virtuosos was a big hit in Hungary because it was fun for the whole family. In my opinion, I would go to a Virtuoso because they seem like a lot of fun.

  • justiny-2-bar
    5/27/2016 - 10:18 a.m.

    Virtuous was a hit in Hungary because the region has a deep musical tradition. I found this article interesting because I enjoy to watch these type of shows on the tv. I found it surprising that the show was a huge success in Hungary because I never knew that they like to watch these type of shows over there.

  • valeriep-1-bar
    5/27/2016 - 06:47 p.m.

    Virtuosos was a hit in Hungary because their talent shows in hungary and people like the shows. The article states that "it was a huge hi t for state television in 2014"

  • maggiec-3-bar
    5/30/2016 - 10:05 p.m.

    "Virtuosos" was a hit in Hungary because it was something new and original. Most music competition shows are pop music and this show has classical music. Also, it is a show which allows children to show their music to the world and gives them an opportunity to compete against a ton of other people like them. In paragraph twelve Mariann Peller says, "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." This shows that they are going to try to give the children on the show the best experience they can which is new for a show like this one. I thought this article was very interesting and I hope that it will come to the U.S so I can see if it really is as good as the article says it is.

  • theaw-4-bar
    5/31/2016 - 09:21 p.m.

    "Virtuosos" was a hit in Hungary because it allowed children to share their passion for classical music all across the country. The program was "allowing young classical musicians the chance to compete in a type of program usually reserved for pop music." I liked this article a lot and found it interesting to read about how big of a hit the program truly was and is.

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