Johann Sebastian Bach to the Future

The 14-year-old pianist wants to drag classical music into the 21st century by creating an iPhone app for fans of the German composer.
  • Transcript


Question: What is the iBach app that you want to develop for the iPhone?

Hilda Huang: So, this is of course, very unlikely because I can't program, but I'd like to create an iBach app where for every day of the year, the user can just click on the app and it'll show your Bach piece of the day. So, maybe that's an independent piece or maybe it's a movement of a suite. But every day there's a new piece, because there's so many pieces, not just keyboard works, but there's chorales, there's violin pieces, cello pieces, orchestra suites. And every day I'm going to attempt to put a new one and I think there's enough for I think three years, if every day is different. And with each piece, I'd like to provide a short summary of what the piece is about, of what kind of a dance it is. Of course, that's a lot of research, so that's going to take a while to get together. But, that's what I'd like to do in the future and just get people to find out what the Bach piece of the day is and then if I can't fit the whole piece of music on the app, then maybe provide a link for them to go to YouTube and listen to it and see what kind of music that they're actually interested in. And I'm sure they'll find something within this massive amount of works. So, in essence, it's going to help people explore more of Bach's music.

Question: Why aren’t more young people into classical music?

Hilda Huang: I think classical music now has become less successful than it was maybe 50, 100 years ago. I mean, now when we have pop albums coming out, they're $10 an album at every store, at every store you can imagine, Wal-Mart, Target, wherever you want. Everybody can just get access to them easily. And also the music itself is very accessible. It's not as complex as what Bach and what other classical musicians wrote. Certainly, there's a lot of instruments, but when you look at say symphonies or the chorales or masses, there's much more instruments. There's maybe 100 singers and an orchestra. So I think people haven't discovered their own interest for digging deeper into these kinds of music. They are just kind of interested in having something nice to hear.

Recorded on June 7, 2010
Interviewed by Paul Hoffman