Classical music maestro Gustavo Dudamel leaves LA for move to New York Philharmonic

In a blow to the Los Angeles classical music world, renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel has been poached by the New York Philharmonic.

It was announced on Tuesday (7 February) that the Venezuelan will become the world famous orchestra’s music and artistic director, starting in 2026.

Dudamel, who is known not just for his rare talent, but for his charisma and intense energy, won’t be short of friends in the Big Apple though. He was hired by president of the New York Philharmonic, Deborah Borda, who took him on board as lead conductor at the LA equivalent in 2009.

42 year old Dudamel is also no stranger to his new workplace, having conducted 26 concerts in the east coast city, making his debut there when he was just 26 years of age.

He’s one of the most famous products of Venezuela’s network of musical schools, El Sistema. He also started a youth orchestra, YOLA, in 2007, which has helped 1,500 young people, providing them with free instruments and instruction.

Dudamel’s departure from Los Angeles marks a significant loss for the city and its orchestra. He has played a large part in building a cultural empire on the west coast and helped turn the Philharmonic into one of the most creative and financially successful examples in the entire country and wider world.

Industry experts say his appointment is a major coup for the New York Philharmonic, the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States.

Only a decade ago, it was plagued with concerns about its future, with issues surrounding renovations of its home and its artistic direction.

However, its new headquarters, David Geffen Hall, has now reopened after a €545 million renovation, and in securing Dudamel, the New York icon is celebrating something of a renaissance.

At the New York Philharmonic, Dudamel will succeed Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden who is leaving after 6 years to join the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in South Korea.

Model train plays 2,840 notes of classical music to set Guinness World Record | Trending

Guinness World Records (GWR) regularly share photos and videos related to different kinds of world records on their social media pages. In their recent post, they shared a world record set by a model train. According to the record-keeping organisation, Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg GmbH played over 2,840 notes over a 211-metre track to set the Guinness World Record.

“Longest melody played by a model train 2,840 notes by @miniaturwunderland,” read the caption of the video shared on Instagram by Guinness World Records. They also posted several hashtags, including #melodysongs and #guinnessworldrecords. The video shared by Guinness World Records shows the model train playing 20 classical melodies using 2,840 glasses filled with varying amounts of water, and it is soothing to the ears. The record was attempted in Germany at the company’s exhibition centre on 17 March 2021.

Watch the video below:

Since being shared a day ago, the video has accumulated more than 1.1 million views, and the numbers are still increasing. The video has also received several comments.

Here’s how people reacted to the video:

“Ok, this one is kinda cool!” posted an individual. Another shared, “Evaporation has entered the chat.” “That’s so amazing how they synchronised it using the moving model train on the railtrack and pinging the glasses together as it went along it was so beautiful done I was so well composed by then i love to hear full version of each composed classic melody music of Mozart-rondo alla turca and beethoven-fur elise PING TING!!!!!” commented a third.


    Arfa Javaid is a journalist working with the Hindustan Times’ Delhi team. She covers trending topics, human interest stories, and viral content online.
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Classical Sprouts: Prokofiev’s ‘Cinderella’ | Interlochen Public Radio

It’s time for the ball!

Classical Sprouts is back with another “Cinderella” story, and this time it’s a ballet by Sergei Prokofiev!

Composer Sergei Prokofiev

Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev lived from 1891 to 1953.

Between two world wars and a totalitarian regime in his home country, his career spanned a tumultuous era.

But several of his pieces were – and still are – enormously popular, like “Peter and the Wolf,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Cinderella.”

Stravinsky’s version of “Cinderella” follows the traditional story, but it does have a few twists.

Think funny stepsister scenes, jazz-inspired music and dances with oranges …

Listen to Classical Sprouts to learn more, and watch the entire ballet below!


Be sure to subscribe to Classical Sprouts wherever you get your podcasts and follow @classicalsprouts on Instagram to join our inclusive community.

Support IPR to help Sprouts grow, just tell us in the comments that your donation is for Classical Sprouts.

Classical Sprouts is produced by Emily Duncan Wilson. Kacie Brown is the digital content manager.

Viral Video Beagle Puppy Enjoying Classical Music Like A Pro Is Cuteness Overdose Watch

It is yet again proven that music does get to the soul across creations.

Viral Video: Beagle Puppy Enjoying Classical Music Like A Pro Is Cuteness Overdose | Watch

Viral Video: All would agree that music has a magical power that casts a spell on everyone. Music transcends the boundaries of languages, regions, genres, and settings. Many medical researchers have proved that music can be a potent tool in healing illnesses and the recovery process. Some experiments have also shown that milch animals like cows and buffaloes yield more and better-quality milk if they are made to listen to a certain kind of music. Overall, music is enjoyed and appreciated everywhere.

One video shared by Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group, shows a young woman holding a beagle puppy in her lap while there is an ambient sound of Indian classical music. The video is captioned: “This showed up in my #wonderbox. Don’t know the young lady & her furry musical friend. Sharing it because it made my weekend. Maybe the pooch will stage an Arangetram one day? ” What is interesting about this video is that the puppy is making movements with its head in synchronization with the beats, modulation, and vocal variations. All this while the woman holding the pup is smiling and as the video progresses, the smile turns into a broad grin, and then she is just on the cusp of bursting into laughter.


To watch a cute little puppy enjoying classical music is very amusing, to say the least.

Published Date: January 14, 2023 10:54 PM IST

Gen Z and young millennials’ surprising obsession

Gen Z and young millennials’ surprising obsession

(Image credit: Esther Abrami, Getty Images)

A radical new wave of artists are sweeping the previously elite world of classical music – with a little help from Squid Game, Dark Academia and fashion. Daisy Woodward explores how classical got cool.


If asked to guess what under 25-year-olds are listening to, it’s unlikely that many of us would land upon orchestral music. And yet a survey published in December 2022 by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) found that 74% of UK residents aged under 25 were likely to be tuning into just that at Christmas-time, compared with a mere 46% of people aged 55 or more. These figures reflect not only the RPO’s broader finding that under 35-year-olds are more likely to listen to orchestral music than their parents, but also the widespread surge in popularity of classical music in general, particularly among younger generations.

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There are plenty of reasons for this, from the playlist culture spawned by streaming platforms that make it easy for listeners to discover new artists and types of music to fit their mood, to the solace it provided during the pandemic, not to mention the profusion of classical music in pop culture hits like Squid Game. But perhaps highest on the list is the global wave of Gen Z and young millennial classical artists who are finding new ways to be seen and heard, and – just as vitally – new means of modernising what has long been branded music’s most elite and stuffy genre.

Fashion brand Acne Studios’ younger sub-label Face recently created composer-themed sweaters and bags (Credit: Acne Studios/ Face)

Unsurprisingly, social media has played a huge part in this, as a quick search of the popular TikTok hashtag “classictok” (currently at 53.8 million views) attests. There, as well as on Instagram, young classical artists have been making use of the digital realm’s democratic potential to lift the heavy velvet curtains on their art form, presenting classical music and its storied history in ways that are accessible, unintimidating and, most importantly, fun.

For French violinist Esther Abrami – who has more than 250,000 followers on Instagram, more than 380,000 on TikTok, and was the first classical musician to be nominated in the Social Media Superstar category at the Global Awards – the journey to social media fame stemmed from a desire to share her passion more widely. “I was studying at a top institution and most of the time I was practising for exams, so the whole joy of sharing was taken away. Then, at the very few concerts I did play, there was a very specific type of audience that wasn’t very diverse,” Abrami tells BBC Culture.

She noticed that a handful of classical musicians had taken to Instagram to broaden their own reach, and decided to do the same. “I started posting a few things, and was stunned by the reaction that I got. Suddenly you have people from around the world listening to you and telling you it brightens their day to watch you playing the violin,” she enthuses. “It opened this door to a completely new world.”

Nigerian-US baritone and lifelong hip-hop fan Babatunde Akinboboye enjoyed a similarly swift and surprising rise to social media fame when he posted a video of himself singing Rossini’s renowned aria Largo al factotum over the top of Kendrick Lamar’s track Humble. “I was in my car and I realised that the two pieces worked together musically, so I started singing on top of the beat,” he tells BBC Culture. He documented the moment on his phone and posted the video on his personal Facebook account, guessing that his friends would enjoy it more than his opera peers. “But I went to sleep, woke up the next morning, and it had expanded to my opera network, and far beyond that,” he laughs, explaining that within two days, his self-dubbed brand of “hip-hopera” had caught the attention of The Ellen Show, America’s Got Talent and Time magazine.

Nigerian-US baritone Babatunde Akinboboye sings “hip-hopera” – he initially became known for his rendition of Rossini blended with Kendrick Lamar (Credit: J Demetrie)

Both Abrami and Akinboboye came to classical music in their teens, late by conventional standards, and cultivated their passion for the genre independently. This remains a driving factor in their desire to reach new audiences, which they’ve achieved on an impressive scale, largely just by being themselves. “I ended up becoming an opera influencer by sharing the parts of me I felt comfortable sharing, which is a lot,” says Akinboboye, whose playful hip-hopera and opera videos and posts – taking viewers behind the scenes of a world still shrouded in mystery  – have garnered him some 688,000 TikTok followers. “It’s a lot about how I relate to opera; my musical background was from hip-hop, but I still found a relationship with opera and that resonated with people,” he explains. “Almost every day I get a different message saying, ‘I went to my first opera today’. I think it’s because they’re seeing someone they feel comfortable or familiar with.”

‘Complex and profound’

Abrami, a similarly enthusiastic content creator, agrees: “I think putting the face of somebody not so far away from them to the genre is a big thing. That’s what I’m trying to do, to reach different types of people and create bridges, to show them that this music can really move you. It’s complex and profound and yes, it might take a bit of time to understand but once you do, it’s amazing.”

British concert pianist Harriet Stubbs is another avid proponent of classical music for modern audiences who has been finding her own ways of drawing in new listeners. During lockdown, the musician, who usually splits her time between London and New York, performed multiple 20-minute concerts from her ground-floor flat in West Kensington, opening the windows and using an amplifier to reach listeners outside. “I gave 250 concerts,” Stubbs, who was awarded a British Empire Medal by the Queen for this mood-boosting act of service, tells BBC Culture. “I did a range of repertoire from my upcoming album, and also things like All By Myself, which I chose ironically for that audience. And the thing is, people who thought they didn’t care for classical music came back every day because of the power of that music.”

The fusion of classical music with other genres is a major facet of Stubbs’s practice and, indeed, that of many others among the new generation of classical artists (see also the React to the K YouTube channel, where classical artists frequently reimagine K-pop songs with ingenious results, or Kris Bowers’ brilliant orchestral arrangements of modern pop songs for the much-buzzed-about Bridgerton soundtrack). Stubbs’s innovative first album, Heaven & Hell: The Doors of Perception (2018), was inspired by William Blake and features musical icon Marianne Faithfull. “I always wanted to tie rock’n’roll and classical music together and put them in the same space, supported by literature and philosophy and other disciplines,” she explains, adding that her next album, which she’s making with pianist and former Bowie collaborator Mike Garson, will be a “Bowie meets Rachmaninoff” affair.

Concert pianist Harriet Stubbs has collaborated with Marianne Faithfull, and is currently working on a “Bowie meets Rachmaninoff” album (Credit: Russ Titelman)

Interestingly, the current swell of enthusiasm for classical music has branched out to become as much of an aesthetic movement as it is a musical one. Digital microtrends Dark Academia and Light Academia – dedicated as they are to the romanticisation of a passion for art and knowledge through imagery – both make rousing use of classical music in order to create the desired ambience. Ascendant Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński, meanwhile, uses atmospheric visuals as a powerful means of contemporising the baroque experience. Depressed by the lack of funding for music video production in the classical realm, he drummed up private sponsorship to make a 21-minute movie to accompany his 2021 rendition of Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater. The resulting film conjures a compelling and suitably brutal scenario for the haunting 18th-century hymn, which The New York Times describes as “resembling a Polish remake of The Sopranos”.

“I’m really interested in storytelling. I always build an entire concept for my albums – the narrative, the photography, the videos,” Orliński tells BBC Culture. “I think now there is this whole new generation of people who really want to add to what classical music can be, to go beyond the singing and be challenged. You just have to know that the end product will be good, and that what you’re doing will serve the story,” he adds. This is certainly something Orliński has achieved in his own career: an accomplished sportsman and breakdancer, he wowed critics with his 2022 Royal Opera House debut, which found him pole-dancing in a spangled dress as Didymus in Katie Mitchell’s production of Handel’s Theodora. Other recent projects have included recording baroque tracks for forthcoming video games which, he says, was “an incredible experience” and is something he’s being asked to do more and more frequently, as the Metaverse beckons. “Sometimes you need classical music to touch the strings of somebody’s soul – a pop song won’t work.”

Classical music’s ongoing and often powerful intersection with pop culture is being foregrounded as part of the burgeoning interest in the genre, both inside and outside its famously guarded gates. The all-teen members of the UK’s National Youth Orchestra have just completed a mini tour that included a performance of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, replete with its opening symphonic sunrise eternalised by Stanley Kubrick in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Last August saw the BBC Proms launch its first gaming-themed programme whereby the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra took on some of the best-loved songs in video game history. While the recent autumn/winter collection from Acne Studios’ younger sub-label Face offered up one of the most direct sartorial tributes to classical music to date, presenting crew-neck sweaters, T-shirts and tote bags embellished with the faces of Handel, Mozart and Bach in celebration of “the idea that a passion for classical music is the most left-field move imaginable for a modern-day teenager”.

Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński wowed critics with his performance as Didymus in Handel’s Theodora, which included a pole-dance (Credit: Michael Sharkey)

Orliński agrees that classical music has achieved an “almost hipstery” status of late. “It’s cool to go to the opera, to know something, and that’s because there are a lot of young artists delivering music on the highest level, while making it very entertaining,” he enthuses. There is, he observes, a revived interest in classical music personalities such as Maria Callas and Pavarotti, as well as “people like Yuja Wang” who are selling out concert halls, all of which he feels bodes well for the art form. “We have a long way to go to grow as much as other genres of music, but we’re moving forward.” Akinboboye, too, is tentatively hopeful. “I think opera is definitely being a lot more bold, and I hope that it continues because I think we can catch up,” he concludes. “[Classical music needs to] be brave, to do the scary thing. And it’ll work out, because audiences are ready.”

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At top of opera, Yoncheva worries about classical music

NEW YORK — Sonya Yoncheva, a soprano at the top of her profession, worries about classical music.

“My son, if I ask him, he always says, ‘I want to be like Ronaldo.’ And later, if I ask my girl, she will say, ‘I want to be Lady Gaga and Beyoncé,’” the Bulgarian singer explained ahead of Saturday’s new production premiere of Giordano’s “Fedora” at the Metropolitan Opera. “They really don’t associate with the classical music artists. Times are changing.”

In a bid to shape projects and bolster opera’s audience, Yoncheva is launching her own record label.

A Sony Classical artist since 2013, Yoncheva is releasing “The Courtesan” on her own SY11 Productions label, recorded with conductor Marco Armiliato, tenor Charles Castronovo and Italy’s Orchestra dell’Opera Carlo Felice Genova. It will launch on Amazon on Feb. 9.

In a time of dwindling classical sales and releases, she was able to choose the selections and even the cover photo, matters subject to a collaboration on Sony recordings.

“I never really had the chance to guide my project from first step to the last step,” she said. “They were always a very good team with me, but I never felt free.”

In the first close-to-normal season since the pandemic’s onset, Yoncheva sings a revival of Bellini’s “Norma” at the Met starting Feb. 28, then has role debuts as Maddalena di Coigny in Giordano’s “Andrea Chénier” at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala on May 3 and Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” at the Vienna State Opera on June 23.

“She is one of our most important artists,” Met general manager Peter Gelb said. “She’s a wonderful actress and a great singer. She is the kind of the artist that the Met needs more than ever these days as we try to make opera more appealing to a broader audience. It’s extremely challenging because the core opera audience is much smaller than it once was.”

Born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, on Christmas Day 1981, Yoncheva attended William Christie’s “Jardin des Voix” in 2007 and moved to Switzerland to enroll at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève.

“I wanted to come to the States, but I never managed to have a scholarship,” she said. “At the time, a salary of a normal Bulgarian person was $60 per month, so when you compare this to what has to be paid in a university in the States, it’s just insanely expensive, so for this reason I had to chose Europe. Someone gave me a little envelope with the name of the high school in Geneva, and this person told me ‘You should go there,’ and I said OK.”

In 2010, she became the first woman to win Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition, and she went on to debuts at the Met and Royal Opera (2013), Vienna State Opera (2014), Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and Paris (2017).

Yoncheva starred in Claus Guth’s 2017 Paris production of Puccini’s “La Bohème,” infamously relocated to a space shuttle.

“This was such a nightmare,” she said, laughing, “but many people are still talking about it.”

She has become more discerning with directors.

“Maybe they will have a concept, OK, but I want them to believe in that and to be honest with it and to explain to me why,” she said. “I must believe in it, and sometimes what is happening is that themselves, they don’t believe it and then they do it to provoke.”

David McVicar is directing “Fedora” in his 13th Met production — a future staging of Ponchielli’s “La Gioconda” is planned — in a fairly traditional mounting. Yoncheva made her role debut at La Scala on Oct. 15 in a modern-dress production directed by Mario Martone, and she worried about being heard.

“The stage director decided to leave the whole stage empty. Me and Roberto Alagna, we were struggling the whole night to find the Punto Callas, Punto Caballé, Punto Tebaldi, Punto I don’t know whom,” Yoncheva said, referring to the so-called preferred stage spots of Maria Callas, Montserrat Caballé and Renata Tebaldi decades earlier.

“I finished the production and I said ‘Oh, my God! What am I going to do at the Met?’ because the Met is maybe three times bigger than La Scala,” Yoncheva said. “I immediately called David, I said, ‘Please tell me there are some walls.’ And he said yes. He showed me pictures, and I was reassured.”

Her male lead at the Met is tenor Piotr Beczala. They have worked together for a decade.

“Our voices our pretty similar,” Beczala said. “I am coming from the lyric corner and she’s coming from the lyric corner, arriving now for a little more spinto repertory.”

While the Met dropped plans to present Yoncheva in John Corigliano’s “The Ghosts of Versailles” and “Madama Butterfly,” she has committed to a new production of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball)” and revivals of Tchaikovsky’s “Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades)” and Cherubini’s “Medea” in Italian.

She lives outside Geneva with her husband, conductor Domingo Hindoyan, whom she met in school. They are kept busy by 8-year-old son Mateo and 3-year-old daughter Sofia, with the entire family traveling to New York for her extended stay.

Yoncheva’s daughter looks at her career somewhat differently than the opera audience.

“I ask her what daddy does and she starts to conduct,” Yoncheva said. “And then I ask her what mommy does, and she says, ‘Oh, mommy, she’s Elsa from ‘Frozen’’ — because I’m dressed like a princess and I sing.”

Classical music is proving more popular than ever on the internet

STOCKHOLM, Dec 20 — Elitist, outdated, old-fashioned. Prejudices about classical music can be deep-rooted. However, it’s a musical genre that keeps on finding ways of renewing itself in the hope of rallying a younger audience. And that, it seems to have found on social media, in particular on YouTube.

So suggests the first annual report from Epidemic Sound, a Swedish company that offers easy access to over 35,000 royalty-free compositions. It shows that the use of classical music on YouTube has increased by 90 per cent in the last 12 months. This would make classical music the genre that has seen the strongest growth among content creators in 2022.

So what’s driving this renewed interest in the compositions of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert? Their timelessness, it seems. Indeed, the expression “classical music” itself evokes the idea of the genre not being tied to a contemporary age. The works belonging to this musical repertoire seem to cross the ages, contrary to certain songs that remain forever associated with a very precise moment in time.

These pieces also have the advantage of conveying a wide range of emotions, and can therefore be used as a soundtrack for a wide range of content. The classical repertoire is used in humorous and educational videos, as well as in news and fashion reports, according to the “Sound of the Internet” report. YouTube artist Cecilia Blomdahl uses classical pieces to introduce her 491,000 followers to her life in the Svalbard archipelago, located halfway between the North Pole and the Norwegian mainland. “Classical music […] can be both melancholic and joyful depending on the footage, so the genre fits really well with the feeling I want to evoke in my videos,” she said.

Bringing classical music to new audiences

Musicians such as Christoffer Moe Ditlevsen and Hampus Naeselius are benefiting particularly from this musical trend. The Swedish pair are the classical music composers whose pieces have been used in the most YouTube videos this year, according to Epidemic Sound. Trevor Kowalski, Megan Wofford and Franz Gordon also make the list.

For Oscar Höglund, CEO of Epidemic Sound, this could serve as inspiration to others. “I expect there will be an even larger movement towards storytellers using classical music in their content, which also creates an opportunity for classical music artists to continue to modernize the genre and appeal to new audiences,” he explains.

This renewed interest in the classical repertoire is not limited to YouTube. It is just as prominent on TikTok, Gen Z’s favourite social network. The #classicalmusic hashtag has over 2.3 billion views on the platform. And classical works feature in videos as diverse as a rehearsal video from the trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, and a video of someone cutting pumpkin seeds into tiny strips. Here too, classical music proves its versatility.

@ibrahimmaaloufofficiel SOLD OUT #classicalmusic show where I will be playing my Third Symphony !! Thank you to everyone coming to watch the show #symphony #tiktokmusic son original – Ibrahim Maalouf

If these new uses can annoy purists, they have the merit of encouraging TikTok’s young users to discover — and appreciate — a musical genre that’s all too often viewed as stuffy and outdated. Indeed, research suggests that under 35s massively turned to the classical repertoire during the Covid pandemic. In fact, their consumption increased by 17 per cent between April 2019 and April 2020, according to a study produced jointly by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Deezer and the British Phonographic Industry.

And it’s a phenomenon that TikTok is fully aware of. The short-form video platform partnered with Warner Classics to release, in August, a compilation of the most listened-to tracks on the application. Here, all the songs had been reworked by the German Babelsberg Film Orchestra, including orchestral versions of Say So by Doja Cat, No Roots by Alice Merton or Wipe It Down by BMW Kenny. An initiative that’s sure to help bring classical music to new audiences. — ETX Studio

How classical music said thank you to the Queen in 2022

In classical music, as in all the arts, 2022 was supposed to be a new dawn, a joyous surging back to life after the dismalness of two lockdown years. In the event, it was – but only up to a point. 

Numerous events were curtailed or hampered because of illness, and the Proms lost two headline artists, Jonas Kaufmann and Freddie De Tommaso, to bouts of Covid. And the return of audiences to live events has been tentative. Only for the biggest names have venues been able to fill every seat, and most orchestras report audiences are still about 15 per cent down on pre-pandemic figures. 

Brexit continues to exert a huge drag, imposing maddening bureaucratic delays and costs on anyone who wants to travel to the EU to perform – and vice versa. The ­Russian invasion of Ukraine was another blow, as organisations rushed to disinvite Russian soloists, give back tainted Russian money, and cancel concerts with Russian music (though there was also an upside, in the rush to programme fine Ukrainian composers we’d never heard of).

These headwinds were expected. What was not expected, and came as a nasty shock, was the sharp dec­line in listeners to the BBC’s classical music station, Radio 3, which lost one in six of its listeners in the third quarter of 2022. Commercial stations Classic FM and Scala Radio were also sharply down, by 6.5 per cent and 9.5 per cent respectively. There was much anxious speculation that just as listeners were losing the habit of going to concerts, they were also losing the habit of turning on the radio, as well.

Underneath the temporary choppy seas of rising costs and falling revenues run deeper, less vis­ible currents of social and cultural change, to which musicians and organisations must adapt. Classic FM now offers playlists organised by “mood”. In a nod to younger listeners’ preference for spiritually “immersive” music, Radio 3, once the home of strenuous high-mindedness, has invited Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds to curate his own series, Ultimate Calm, which explores “how classical, contemporary and ambient music can soothe the soul”. The fact that some musicians still talk in terms of musical experience as a effortful “going on a journey”, whereas others now see it as a lucid, thoroughly wide-awake process of following the unfolding logic of a piece, shows that there are competing visions of what classical music is or should be.

The amount of classical music in YouTube videos is up 90% year-over-year

Not all digital creators prefer contemporary beats in the background of their content. An increasing number of them are dusting off old tracks for their new videos. The soundtracker’s end-of-year data reveals that its classical music library has now been streamed more than 200 million times, and those pieces appeared in 90% more YouTube videos than in the previous year.

Those figures are two of the headlines from Epidemic Sound’s report, which pulled out yearly trends from among the 20 million video views that featured its music. One year after raising a $450 million funding round, the Stockholm-based company brought its library of licensed tracks to 14 million videos, which earned 1.5 billion views per day on YouTube. On TikTok, videos with Epidemic Sound audio averaged 11.5 billion monthly views in 2022.

Though electronica, pop, hip hop, and alternative are still the most-common genres chosen by Epidemic Sound users, one of the oldest forms of music on record made a huge comeback in 2022. Classical music downloads rose 64% year-over-year on the Epidemic Sound platform, and those tracks appeared in videos around the world. In 13 of the 15 content categories tracked by Epidemic Sound, classical was the fastest-growing soundtrack choice of 2022.

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Cecilia Blomdahl, who uses classical music in her videos, said that the genre is going because it is timeless enough to outlast any contemporary music trends. “The right song is vital in setting the scene,” Bloomdahl said. “Classical music provides a great range of emotions. It can be both melancholic and joyful depending on the footage, so the genre fits really well with the feeling I want to evoke in my videos.”

By releasing an end-of-year statistical breakdown, Epidemic Sound is mirroring the platforms that feature its library of tracks. The 13-year-old company has increased its profile as a production company, and it has released videos that highlight the artists who work with it. The most-used Epidemic Sound artist of 2022, Ooy, appeared in a 2019 short film from YouTuber Peter McKinnon. That collab was put together by the music licenser.

For more information, check out the infographic available on the Epidemic Sound website.

What’s making us happy: A guide to your weekend listening, viewing and reading

This week: How to kick our holiday parties up a notch, when to put up your Christmas lights, and recipes for sweet treats.

Here’s what the NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

Midwest Modern Twitter account

I spent the first 22 years of my life in the Midwest, in the Chicago area, and then in Michigan for college. So, I have a lot of pride in the region. Architecture is my first art love. And one thing that keeps both those appreciations alive is a Twitter account called Midwest Modern. It’s run by Josh Lipnik, @joshlipnik on Twitter. He mostly posts photos of buildings, but he will also post designs of things from all around the Midwest, both in big cities and small towns, of buildings from over the past century and even earlier. I think he has a really great eye, he sees value in just about everything. The account brings the beauty of the Midwest to the Internet. – Danny Hensel

Unclear and Present Danger

I recommend the podcast Unclear and Present Danger. It is hosted by Jamelle Bouie and John Ganz. The initial mission is to talk about ’90s, post-Cold War thrillers. However, they are expanding it in certain ways, including through their Patreon. I find it to be a really nice balance between fun, but also serious and analytical politics. It’s a really smart way to take popular culture and engage with its very specific moment. They also talk about The Firm and The Fugitive. They talk about a lot of films with political content that is a little different from straightforward post-Cold War films like The Hunt for Red October. – Linda Holmes

Recipes from my mom

I don’t know if it’s just because we’ve been talking about The Fabelmans which is in the context of my childhood or if it’s just the season. But I have been thinking about a couple of my mom’s holiday recipes. I am not a baker. I don’t really know how to do it, but I used to love when she would start making things. She would allow me to stick my hands into it and squish the dough together. They were just amazing. There were two things she always made. One of them was bourbon balls, and the other one was shortbread. The shortbread only had three ingredients. It had four cups of flour, a cup and a third of sugar and a pound of salted butter. Obviously good for you.

Mondello’s Mom’s Shortbread
4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 lb (four sticks) butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butter into flour and sugar with knife. Crumble mixture with fingers, and pat mixture into Pyrex dish. Bake for 45 minutes (10 mins into baking, poke some holes with fork). Cut shortbread into squares immediately after removing from oven (DO NOT WAIT FOR COOLING) but leave in the Pyrex dish. Remove to platter only when completely cool.

… And then, of course, you pop them in your mouth and they’re so good. The shortbread is really simple. I’ve been finding recipes online that have everything from baking soda to vanilla to salt and all kinds of other things. This recipe has just three ingredients, which I thought was fantastic. – Bob Mondello

Gemini Rights

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I recently discovered Steve Lacy’s album, Gemini Rights and I have been listening to it for the last few weeks. It is for me, a no skips album. I love the song “Bad Habit.” It doesn’t sound like anything else on the radio right now, which I think is partially why it’s been so successful and, for me, such a revelation.

“Bad Habit” is a song about having a crush on someone and thinking that they weren’t into you, but then realizing maybe too late that they actually were. And questioning why you didn’t pursue it. The whole album is great. One of my other favorite songs is “Helmet,” which is kind of like Stevie Wonder meets Sly and the Family Stone in the best way possible. Steve Lacy was a guitarist and producer with The Internet and in his solo career he’s making some really interesting, fun, groovy music. – Aisha Harris

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Aisha Harris

Last week, our friends on the Book Desk launched their annual “Books We Love” guide – a cornucopia of recommendations for the year’s 400-plus(!) best reads. (Which includes our very own Linda Holmes!)

I rarely watch movie trailers, unless I’m already in a theater and forced to sit through previews, or it’s for a franchise where there’s little room for surprise or novelty to begin with. Which is why I’m fully on board with Vox critic Alissa Wilkinson’s argument against viewing trailers as a general rule, because most of them are really bad at conveying what a movie is actually about. Go in cold! You might like some films better if you did.

If you love Christmas music but can’t stand the new stuff or are a little over the old standbys, then check out the days-long Spotify playlist “FaLaLaLaLa Sentimental Christmas Shuffle-List.” It’s mostly songs of the easy listening/jazz variety circa the mid-20th Century, and features lesser played versions of familiar songs (Jackie Gleason – yes, from The Honeymooners – singing “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”) as well as novelty songs you’ve likely never even heard of (“When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter” by … Captain Kangaroo?).

NPR’s Pilar Galvan adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment “What’s Making Us Happy” into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.