Ben Folds Composes a Song LIVE for Orchestra In Only 10 Minutes


[applause] Alright, so [applause] OK, so I want you to know we have not
rehearsed anything here, okay? This is all going to be new. The orchestra, actually, has no idea what Ben’s going to do. In fact, Ben doesn’t know what he’s going to do
because he’s going to ask you what to do. So a couple of things. I would like from
the audience a key that Ben can work in. [audience shouts out suggestions] Whoa, that’s a lot of people. I think I heard an A-minor in there. Okay? Okay A minor. Now could somebody give me a tempo. Do you want here ballad or do you want to hear something more upbeat. [audience: “upbeat”] Pretty universal. Okay now does anybody have a program booklet that has an interesting sentence in it? And because I can’t decipher 50 sentences coming at once I’m gonna have some volunteers from the front here… Call out a sentence to me
that’s interesting. [audience calls out] I’m sorry, one more time. These new spaces are all designed to be flexible. Yeah, yes. [audience laughter] So, Ben is going to improvise in A minor, an upbeat song on “these new places are designed to be flexible.” [applause] It has to be something completely new, right? [plays first 4 notes from Beethoven’s 9th] OK [laughter] OK A minor. [music] These new spaces are all … designed … [audience laughing] to be flexible. [laughter] These new spaces are all all designed … to be flexible, flexible, flexible, flexible. Okay let’s see, now let’s see… [applause] Cellos, let’s try, um, Arco go um… [plays piano] [cellos play, correspondingly] [music] Yeah and then just one on the second one. [makes rhythm sounds] Great. Now let’s move that down, then the same, the
same thing and we can go to F so so that’s, that’s the A minor that’s and
that’s with a 9 on it so [makes rhythm sounds] [makes rhythm sounds] and that’s an F, a concert F. The C, G [makes rhythm sounds], 2 there [makes rhythm sounds] and then a low C Eeeee So whole cycles. [music] Okay great, now let’s see, uh, [music] Let’s do one size fits all sort of thing for the, uh, uh, the winds, reeds let’s just take, like, flutes, oboes,
and bassoon, clarinets, and just it just it this can be in whatever octave spread you want and we’re gonna go… [music] No, no, let’s just make it a harmony we go [music] I’m taking them out. Just, clarinets, two clarinets go E, concert E, and G go… [music] Let me hear that, make sure I don’t suck. [laughter] [music] That’s it. [music] OK you can let me hear that with the cellos for a moment… 3, 4… [music] Okay that, so when we go to that E we’re gonna do that. So the first, the first one is uh, Sorry this takes a second to create a
whole song. [laughter] And I’m gonna take something back
about the cellos, let’s just do that one cycle on each one [rhythmic sounds: bum, bum, bum, bum] and yeah [rhythmic sounds: bum, bum, bum, bum] [music] And then, ah [music] Then the clarinets [music] Yeah, so let’s try that. Two, three, four [music] Ok this last one of the cycles goes [music] So move that, ah, G up anyone has the G moving up to G sharp [music] Okay great. Now, uh, uh, [music] Okay, uh, violins, first violins let’s go, uh, A [music] Great and then the second violins go up… [music] Uh, so you’ll go to E. Eeee…B [music] OK, you’re going… [music] Great, let’s hear it all together, make sure it’s not crazy. two, three, four [music] OK, great. Thank you, now, uh.. I’ll give the, uh, the viola a little timing sizzle here, just go… one, [music] Great, perfect, and then and then double-basses you know what you must do… [music] [applause] OK, let’s start it from the top. Now if there’s anyone who would like a drum set you know what to do… [laughter] Um, and, uh, then I’d say, uh, you know if there’s a trumpet player that wants to take a solo after the first course when I run out of ideas then you can just jump right in. OK, so let’s, uh, and then, you can bring anyone in and out that you want to but I think I’m probably almost over
my time when, I had to write a song in ten minutes so… let’s just start in, or close to it. one, two, three, four… [music] For more than 25 years the JFK Center, with the performing arts has served as a living memorial to President Kennedy by bringing an unparalleled diversity to our arts. Our nation’s capital… And serving a critical role as a leading provider of the arts education mission across the USA and around the world [music] These new spaces… [laughter] are all designed to be flexible These new spaces are all designed … Let’s milk it, make it a little bit
louder now. Mezzo forte. Forte Double forte… double forte Fortissimo. Fivetisimo [music] Let’s take it out now, you ready? Way down here… [music] [applause] Thank you very much. [applause] Um, so for those of you that are obviously liking Ben Folds’ work… [laughter] Available in the lobby… he will be the next artistic advisor for the National Symphony Orchestra. [applause] Mr. Ben Folds. [applause]

100 thoughts on “Ben Folds Composes a Song LIVE for Orchestra In Only 10 Minutes

  1. Ben Folds – novel and very good. But became a total jerk when he did not once acknowledge that amazing orchestra. They are the real top tier talent.

  2. The most impressive skill here was to create something that was both simple enough to be over and done with in 10 minutes, and complex enough to impress millions of youtubers, and to do it with a great sense of humour.

  3. There are all these little things that gave it away that they largely planned it beforehand. The composer ask them to do one thing, and they do another.

  4. Is the part at 3:39 an ad lib with "Always I want I want I want Always"? Or is that part of another song and just put in? Sounds so good.

  5. Would it kill you to play some Foghat ? Seriously though , What an incredible musical mind . Love to see Ben with Andrew Bird

  6. I have been doing this seriously for several decades composing/writing serious music 24/7 wherever, but nobody hung it onto a big bell; and I am quite a few classes better than that. So, what am I supposed to think about that, see it as a piano joke?

  7. Looool the clarinets were confused and off key because he and they failed to account for instrument transposition.

  8. I'm sure the bulk of the song is scripted, I mean, even if nobody said "A Minor" nobody would ever be able to tell. Enjoyable 13 minutes regardless.

  9. Amazing. Not only for the composer, but for every player. I would be "wtf are U talking about ??"

  10. never heard of this guy anyone got any info on him , interested in learning more about how he composes , as i think it is a lot easier than most people know , this is a relatively basic technique i also use on guitar

  11. i wouldn’t be surprised if that “these new spaces are all designed to be flexible” would become a band name in the near future

  12. Wow, this would be really interesting if I could hear any instrument other then the piano, can we turn its dang receiver down next time.

  13. This is 90% of composers in India, suddenly when the producer goes I need something new a night before the movie release

  14. you know there is at least one dude in the band that really isn't all that great and probably shouldn't be there that is like oh crap.

  15. So awesome to witness these artists production in real time, everyone included. Makes me nostalgic for my teenage years when I was training to be a classical musician, before I gave it all up because I figured I wasn't going to be one of the lucky few under capitalism who can survive by making a career out of their art. Gonna go listen to a shitload of Ben Folds now ^_^

  16. It's such an amazing texture he achieves on the spot

    Did they forget to tune the orchestra, or is it just really hot in the room?

  17. i feel like they are a network of brains interconnected with each other who can feel exactly what each other wants to paly

  18. 1. so like why are they reading music sheets? at least they seem like they are. 10:04
    2. "Give me a key"
    Audience: "C# (locrian)"

  19. Is it weird for a 12 year old girl to be really interested in Ben’s songs? Not really interested in pop. 😛

  20. Absolutely Extraordinarily Awesome. Da-dum. Wow. Thank you. I've always wanted to witness that process…this snippet…lol… amazing.

  21. That….was FANTASTIC! I am always in awe of people with such talent, and there was so much talent on that stage.  
    The opening reminds me ever so slightly of the intro to Elton John's "Madman Across the Water." It's not the same notes, per se, just the tone and the mood.

  22. Okey, can we talk about the conductor? How he casually stands there and is like: Okay my minions, there is a crazy bearded man who makes ba-da-bi-da, let's make that work! Especially 12:21 – that guy is awesome

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