TikTok whets Gen Z’s appetite for classical music

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Spencer rubin amassed 32.5 million views and 867,000 subscribers on TIC Tac for his relevant and funny videos. However, the Long Island native doesn’t perform choreographed dances or post about intimate relationships – he plays the oboe.

Rubin, 17, is studying classical oboe at Juilliard Pre-College. He is one of a handful of influencers who have built their platforms around classical music.

“I think with social media we are able to de-stigmatize the feeling that classical music is super sophisticated and has to be perfect,” Rubin told The Post.

“One of the main ways to keep classical music alive is to get people to talk about it, and so if we can do that through social media, I think it’s a great way to get more involved. people, ”he added.

For many Gen Z and Millennials, their Spotify playlists contain more Beethoven than Taylor Swift. Thanks to content creators including TwoSet Violin – a classic musical duo with 3.21 million YouTuber subscribers and 757,200 fans on TikTok – people have turned to the genre that many still consider elitist and unapproachable.

According to a joint research by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the French music streaming service Deezer and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in 2020, 34% of those who played classical music from 2019 to 2020 were between 18 and 25 years old, and classic streams by listeners under 35 increased by 17%. Ten years ago, only a tenth of mainstream listeners were under 30, according to BPI data. On Spotify, Bach had 7.2 million monthly listeners, while Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin all had over 6 million.

“Rather than tying music to a physical location that might be perceived as inaccessible and representative of an elitist past, direct availability online means that the potential audience is exponentially expanded,” Kurt Nikkanen, violin soloist and concertmaster of the New York City Ballet, said The Post. “Anyone, not just famous artists, can stream content at any time and reach an audience of anyone with an Internet connection. “

Nathan Chan, 27, assistant principal cellist at the Seattle Symphony, posts “warm, exciting and relevant” cello content on his TIC Tac.

Nathan Chan, 27, assistant principal cellist at the Seattle Symphony, posts “warm, exciting and relevant” cello content on his TikTok.
Credit Jiyang Chen

“It was really important to reach out to people who were sort of on the margins of [liking] classical music, people who listen to classical music and say, ‘I like that because it calms me down, I find it very relaxing,’ ”Chan said.

For Chan, social media is a way to explore his personal creative side and to help more and more people discover classical music during its ‘rebirth’ era.

Spencer Rubin has racked up 32.3 million views and 856,000 subscribers on TikTok for his relatable and comedic videos.
Spencer Rubin has racked up 32.5 million views and 863,500 subscribers on TikTok for his relatable and comedic videos.
Stefano Giovannini

“Our attention is demanded by so many different things on social media, news and in a way classical music goes against this trend” by asking people to just slow down and listen, a he added.

Chan noted that he’s seen people make the genre “more transparent” through videos in which musicians explain their playing process and creators put up cool graphics that mimic the music. Rubin added that he’s seen people on social media incorporating famous composers into jokes or memes, leading viewers to learn more about their works.

For Rubin, using TikTok is a way to make classical music more accessible and meaningful.

Spencer Rubin and his oboe.
Rubin wants to shatter the stereotype that classical musicians “have no personality.”
Stefano Giovannini

“I’m trying to demonstrate things that a lot of classical musicians might go through that maybe other people might not understand,” said Rubin, who posts quick skits on oboist life. “It allows people who are not classical musicians to see a little of our world and see what we are really dealing with …”


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TwoSet Violin is perhaps the biggest social media name in the classical music space. The violin comedy duo have gone viral for their sight reading challenges, prodigy reaction videos, and relevant musical humor.

Rebecca Young, @ry_violamom

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Rebecca Young, associate principal violist with the New York Philharmonic, occasionally produces videos with other members of the orchestra and her daughter, such as Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” in less than a minute.

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Rubin publishes short skits on things that many classical musicians go through, as well as comedic routines merging pop culture and classical oboe.

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Chan posts cello videos that garner thousands of views, including skits about what classical music might look like in 2050 and renditions of trending pieces.


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