Must watch: Toronto vs Rotterdam in the home-play finals

Catching site of the Rotterdam Philharmonic’s viral home performance of Beethoven 9th – 80,000 views on Slipped Disc and rising – home-bound members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra put their techs together to play, remotely, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring.

The driving force in the project was principal double bass Jeff Beecher. The music was recorded in various homes with a click-track provided by Jeff, who then edited the outcome.

You are among the first to see it online.


Who’s best?

Vote here for Trotters or Rotters.


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  • Why are you making this a contest? Both orchestras are giving their best and from their hearts – why is it a competition?

    • I agree!!!! All of the artists are incredibly talented. I am grateful to all of them for sharing such beautiful music during this stressful time.

    • Because whatever orchestra you are in, it’s always a competition to see who plays better, has more talented conductors (doubtful), more sessions in the book, more money….an endless list. Presume you’re not in the profession?

      • Somehow i doubt that any of these musicians thought of it as a competition. And actually they didn’t set up the competition someone who is not in the profession did. And no I’m not I’m what is called the audience that you, assuming you are in that profession, play for.

  • Brilliant, moving and out of the box! Just proves that concert halls can be in your mind as well as a physical place.

  • I echo the comments above. They’re both great, is my answer. Perhaps the event we are all going through right now may have the saving grace of helping all of us understand that our obsession with competition and our sheer disdain of human vulnerability have actually been destructive to the world, to others, and ultimately to ourselves. At a time when humanity is going through one of the biggest challenges it has encountered in a very long time, I cannot fathom why we would even think of engaging in such trivial endeavors as determining who’s best and who’s not. Everything is interconnected and deserving of consideration and respect.

  • This is … well, words are failing me at the moment. I got chills listening to and watching this (no, I don’t have a fever), and I’m resisting the impulse to wipe my eyes (until I’ve washed my hands).

    Thank you, musicians and technical staff!

    Speaking of technology: how do you deal with the signal delays on the internet that even news interviews cannot conceal? Is everything synchronized in post-production multitracking, or is there some delay-free mode of live synchronization?

    • Each musician recorded their own solo video while listening to an old recording on headphones (same recorded version for all). Video editor imported all clips and synchronised them manually.

      Internet latency doesn’t allow real-time music for large groups. There is, in fact, software that allows a smaller group to play together online. It’s called JamKazam. You need fast internet with a wired (Ethernet) cable connection (Wifi isn’t good enough). In ideal conditions, up to 10 people can play together.

  • Two different styles of music, both are great more kudos to the musicians for taking the time to do this. I live in Toronto and know some of the musician I am a bit bias. I vote for both!

  • I can’t see how to vote, or do we do it through a comment ? I vote Toronto just because I like the Copland more than Beethovens 9th !!!!!

    • They are both great. The made Ludwig’s Ode to Joy the anthem of the European Union and put Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony on Explorer One so if anyone out in space gets it, they will have an example of Earth’s best music.
      Copeland is the greatest American composer, but Ludwig is the world’s.
      Stay healthy.

  • Cheers to BOTH!!! I teared up but I swear I didn’t touch my eyes! Thank you for doing this. Music is so healing and connects us from any distance.

  • Not voting. Both beautifully uplifting! Thank you to all the musicians. I’m looking forward to other orchestras. And I would like to see the voting taken out of this altogether.

  • who cares. Music to my ears. Seeing people come together in these trying times creates a sense of community in all of us. Thank you to all who create ways to bind us together as one family. THere is no competition against one another. It is competition to rise above , we stand together in the face of any adversity.

  • Thanks for raising our spirits! I’m not going to vote because there’s enough competition in the world as it is! You are both fantastic!

  • ‘Tis the gift to make music.

    Your magic brings together
    what custom has sternly divided.
    All men shall become brothers,
    wherever your gentle wings hover.

  • I vote for both! different music requiring different technical components and how amazing that they both created a seamless piece of music….. but mostly I know that music is so very supportive during these times …play on !

  • OMG, Both so beautiful. Brought tears not only because of the lovely music but also the musicians desire to bring us some joy during this dark time. Thank you!!

  • ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Ritter’s get 1st for absolute creativity of the idea and Trotters tie for 1st for creative visual effects to match.

  • Won’t vote for one over the other. Both are very well done. This is a time to pull together in gratitude for outreach efforts made by musicians waiting to be laid off. And these group / individual videos are VERY hard to do. Bravo to all!

  • You know, we always look at competition. And no, there’s none here. Both are great, and I’ve watched each too many times today. But you know what? Maybe it will encourage other groups of incredible musicians from other orchestras to put something together. It’s tragic what’s going on, but we can all use some uplifting. And what better than folks like these (from both orchestras) doing something for us. Not for money, not for their groups, but for us (and I’m sure they enjoy it too). Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • The hair rose on the back of my neck. Both pieces were transporting. Wonderful to have such contrasts and creativity in use of video. The body language of the musicians adds terrifically to the ensemble, even when they can’t see or cue off each other.
    I hope other groups will find it worth while to share their current repertoire and let us see what we are missing, and share our common loss and make a gain from it.
    Please all stay safe and well.

  • Wouldn’t it be fantastic if lots of the world’s symphonies joined in to entertain us during this time of stress.
    Stay healthy, everyone

  • Can we have more what a fantastic combination of modern technology with musical talent no contest both were great

  • Absolutely amazing! Bravo! The musicians showed not only their musical talents but their ability to adapt and deliver inspiration through music at the times when it is needed the most.

  • As a graduate of CUNY-Queens College, I’m partial to Copland – but both are so fabulous and joyful. Thanks!

  • Thank you to both of these most wonderful orchestras. No contest! This gives new meaning to “We are the World.” Keep playing and giving us beautiful music.

  • What a delight and thank you all for your generosity, ingenuity and lovely performance. We need more like you!!

  • This one (Toronto) had much better editing and mixing than the Rotterdam. The choice of the piece helped. The Ode to Joy is too heavy with string players and that is all I could hear. Showing each player as she entered, and the separation of the parts, was more satisfying.

    I must say that this medium is not conducive to enormous ensembles. As can be heard in the last couple of seconds of the Toronto.

    Congratulations and thanks to all who participated!

  • They are both amazing, filled with talented musicians who bring joy to the world by sharing their gifts. I can’t vote on “who’s the best”. They are all fabulous. Please keep doing this. It brings light into the dark, happiness to the soul. It’s beautiful.

  • Trotters, who were as equally sublime as the Rotters, whom were as equally sublime as the Trotters. Thank you loved it ! We all need your Artistry especially now

  • Thank you, TSO. Listening from Vancouver. Both musically and technically wonderful. Stay well, all of you.

  • Most amazing music by all don’t make it a competition you are both brilliant and so beautiful thank you for sharing

  • This very morning a physician told me that, after playing keyboard professionally for my entire Adult life (I am 81), I no longer have sufficient nerve stimulus to play well. I have already made my choice to “wallow” in the glory of listening to others make the music I have loved my whole life.

    Discovering this was a wonderful beginning.

  • Awesome! Just that this music exists is beautiful but what these 2 organizations have done with the pieces is incredibly inspiring!

  • Thank you to Toronto and Rotterdam Symphony Orchestras. What a wonderful performance by each. What a wonderful gift to share with the world! Thank you.

  • I love Beethoven and all his music but then I am a subscriber for Toronto Symphony Orchestra. So both did a great job of bringing music from their homes to the world! Love you guys. Keep it up.

  • Loved both of course. BUT, I for one, think Jonathan Crowe from the TSO is fantastic. They’ll get my vote every time. Thanks for doing this.

  • Thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating and sharing such a joyful moment. A gift of love and compassion for every human being who is fortunate enough to experience the performance.

  • Both are the BEST!!!
    Musicians all over the world are leading the way to working/playing/harmonizing together!!! This us vs them is old hat! We all need to be creating a better, brand NEW WORLD, like these people!!!

  • It is a draw. How do I judge the beauty of two fantastic pieces performed by two excellent groups of musicians both of whom bring joy to our hearts in these uncertain times?

    • Stephen. I’m here in Jerusalem. Quarantined in my apartment with my husband
      Please put me on your mailing list and keep sending. Thanks a million

  • Both Magnificent so even score. What joy! Thank you to all the musicians. Your love of music and dedication to your instrument shines through to all. We want more.

  • Not only do we get this magnificent music but also the gift of seeing the individual work of these outstanding musicians!

  • No contest … no voting … it was the highlight of 2 wks of nothingness!!
    What a gift you have shared with the world!!
    The swelling at the end of both pieces brought me to tears!
    You have BLESSED the world with your gifts of music!! THANK YOU TO EACH OF YOU!!

  • We know these musicians are masters and very grateful but SO impressed with those whose faces we don’t see who put it all together. Please know your sleepless nights are appreciated and that you are true artists as well!

  • Rotterdam was an inspiring Song of Joy.

    However, Toronto can arouse you out of your sleep.

    I’d like to hear them play the Overture to me.
    The 1st 4 minutes of the 12 can put you to sleep but the last 3 minutes can wake the dead.

    The Lone Ranger theme always arouses me in my grave. This Toronto recital, although excellent, left me spinning in my grave

  • The question “Which is better” was wrong! Both are gifts!!
    One should never compare gifts of love, just be truly grateful.

  • I agree, Both are gifts! Let people come together and appreciate the efforts of all. We are so lucky they made this effort for us all.

  • Thank you, thank you, wish you would keep playing just about forever. Bravo, cannot choose between such two beautiful different pieces. Superb. . .

  • Hmmmm my vote goes to all of them… to both orchestras’ members. They are giving and sharing their beautiful and awesome talent of Music! If that would be a competition, it would not be fare. Because the Toronto Orchestra has more members.

    I enjoyed both pieces and it was a delighted watching all the musicians’ passion!

    The CoVid-19 has attacked and destroyed many lives. However, it is awesome to see that there are beautiful people that use this time to make a positive impact to many people in the world.

    I applaud all of you…
    God bless all of you! Thank you so very much for taking time and play beautifully!

  • Thank you to the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra for doing this. It was incredibly moving and uplifting! I watched this video with my 6 year old son on my lap who wants to be Beethoven. It lifted his/our spirits during this difficult moment as his father is currently battling the COVID-19 virus. While we feel so isolated and scared, this video made us feel connected and supported.

    We are from Toronto, thank you TSO as well! We are your number 1 fans!

  • Great stuff! Thanks, Toronto – nice choice, beautifully played. I also like Playing for Change Around the World, Know it?

  • Like the ice bucket challenge!

    Thank you all for lifting our spirit with your beautiful music and savy tech skills. Bravo to both groups! Both made my eyes water.

    Hope more groups will follow!

  • Toronto’s sound was fuller but Rotterdam had spontaneity and good humor (plus that unseen choir). They both made excellent music and lifted our spirits. Thanks for sharing.

  • This is exceptional. It reminds me why I became a professional musician. Bravi. It’s not about winners. It’s about bringing joy into a world feeling stuck and gloomy. Thank you isn’t enough.

  • I think they both deserve the same credit, because reaching out to perform for the whole world is an incredible act of love! Be safe…

  • Both orchestras were fabulous. Thanks to the musicians and the sound technicians for providing us with balm for the soul.

  • Beautiful piece of music by very talented young and dedicated musicians . I am glad I am alive to hear it. I am an octogenarian.

  • Why very you making this a contest?shame on you
    These musicians are using their gifts to bring a joy in these troubled times. Thank you to each one of you.

  • We’re all in this together! I don’t want to choose who’s best. They are both astonishing, amazing, inspiring, and transported me out of confinement and made me smile!

  • Both were fantastic! Why do you have to want people to vote for one or the other? When there’s a winner, there’s also a loser. Is that really the energy you want to create?

  • So, why do we need to compete? Surely this is a moment to gratefully accept the joy these people are passing on. We’re all in this together!

  • For me it is a beautiful concert by both extremely talented musicians! I have forwarded it to all my music loving friends! Thank you for this concert at such an upsetting time in our world!

  • Amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing your talent and creating a work around in the COVID-19 climate requiring social distancing

  • Pick a winner??? For the beauty and majesty and hope and joy they are giving us they are both glorious winners! Ludwig and Aaron are smiling.

  • The performances by both the Rotterdam Symphony and the Toronto Symphony were beautiful and uplifting. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  • Thank-you I cannot decide just extremely grateful to all of you for bringing this beauitful music into my home from yours. I hope you and your families are well and stay well. Much love from Australia

  • No competition….just wonderful…brings the frazzled part of the mind off the cliff…opens the heart to the amazement of music! THANK YOU! Every one of you!

  • I think it is wrong to make it a contest, we play music to share with our audiences, to enjoy the past and bring it to the present, It should be share and not to compete, to many people has died in our state of NY and we are not thinking to compete we hope to overcome this pandemia and we are thankful for the artist that share with honesty their love to music and human kind. They honor the departed and and cheer the heros, w don’t have time now for competitions,

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