Imagine a timeline inscribed on paper that starts in the 1700s and extends to the present day. Fold the paper precisely in half, with the polar time periods meeting: You will have performed a now-and-forever representation of Voice of Music.
The early music chamber ensemble founded in 2007 by Hanneke van Proosdij and David Tayler offers concerts and recordings of music composed before 1800 played on period instruments for contemporary audiences. Educational programs provide training for children, adults, and talented young professionals. Voices of Music’s free digital library documents San Francisco’s cultural history, the nonprofit’s concerts, and an extensive archive of educational videos.
Now picture this: Videos made by VOM and posted on YouTube received roughly 4 million views in the age range 18-34 and 20 million views overall in 2015.
“I don’t know if I can explain it,” says van Proosdij, about the early music videos’ sensational popularity with young people. “We started them early on. We felt that for an organization today, it’s important to be on the Internet. If you get one viral video, people will come to see the rest.” An early example from 2008, their Pachelbel Canon in D Major, has been viewed 7,364,425 times.