Ben Folds Composes a Song LIVE for Orchestra In Only 10 Minutes
Ben Folds composes a song LIVE for orchestra in 10 minutes

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NSO Artistic Advisor Ben Folds composes a piece live with the National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Edwin Outwater during Sound Health in Concert: Music and the Mind, an initiative spearheaded by Artistic Advisor At Large, Renée Fleming, presented by The Kennedy Center and National Institutes of Health. Introduced by Dr. Charles Limb.


Melody Ho : "if you can improvise slowly, you can improvise quickly"

Jacob Seemann : Conductor: "Name a key for Ben to work with" Audience: "A minor!” Musicians: "(Oh thank God)"

Juan Pena : 11 minutes before concert Whole orchestra: wait, we need another song for the end Ben Folds: hold my beer

Tim O'Neill : I know the lyrics were being read straight from the pamphlet but I swear Sufjan Stevens wrote them

Daniel Thrasher : Still one of the coolest videos I've ever seen. Ben Folds is a legend.

Lauren Judd : Two days after watching it, and I was humming to myself "these.. new.. spaces.. are all designed... To be flexibleeee"

Night Stick : I love how a crazy looking guy with a big scruffy beard and curly hair sits there smacking his piano yelling random letters of the alphabet, and the people there are just like, "Oh, yeah, I can do that for you" and start perfectly playing awesome music in sync with a dozen other people he's yelled letters of the alphabet and smacked a piano to. That's really neat to see someone putting together something on the fly like that, and seeing the talented men and women there interpret it and put into practice in such a skillful way, all in sync, is frankly a bit mind boggling. I couldn't be happier with this recommendation from YouTube, though!

Michael Lockhart : Let's do something upbeat, turns into the background music for a massacre on Game of Thrones.

Angie C : LET"S MILK IT, MEZZO FORTE, FORTISSIMO, FIVETISSIMO! I'd wear that on a shirt haha

MEDiAgamer : Sounds like a song for the next James Bond opener.

Hardt Ma : The dude who wrote the pamphlet must have not expected THIS haha

JarHead : You cheated. You used Ben Folds. I’m a sucker for Ben Folds

Shellsea : But did that guy ever get his pamphlet back?!

Billy Jeffs : "Drum set, you know what to do" Drummer - *Sits this one out and grabs a beer*

nephyril : For those without any musical background: Music theory is like learning a universal language and its the reason these performers can all play so well together with an impromptu piece.

Robert M : This says more about trained symphony musicians than it does about composers, despite how coherent Ben's choices are.

Phil Carpenter : "Give me a key" "F double sharp diminished"

Imagineth : Guy: "Please call out a key." Audience screams every key. Guy: "I heard A minor."

hm? : 11:13 the trumpet player actually wanted to go for a solo

Rushil Chulani : Ben to Drummer: "You know what you have to do" Drummer to himself/herself: " Um..ahh.. last time I checked, my majors were music, not telepathy. But I guess I have to just play along with your "dum da dum dum..." on a piano while I am stuck here with 2 sticks and a drum. You sir, are a true genius :|"

justin bullied : This was fantastic! I enjoyed this guy's rendition. To see what this guy could pull off in 10 minutes was amazing. To everyone arguing the logistics of the composition - I'm positive very few people could make an orchestra perform an original song in front of a crowd. All while being entertaining. Give this dude some credit. Stop analyzing the melody and enjoy the performance as a whole.

Isaac Gonzalez : Subtitles at 1:35 "[plays first for notes from Beethoven's 9th]" EXCUSE ME?!

Spug Bug : This is the musical equivalent of a speed run.

Beemer : I guarantee he could have run that a whole verse longer if he just let that damn trumpet come in with that solo. He was ready, too. Anyway, this was just amazing. No wonder he's a National Symphony Orchestra Artistic Advisor. Worth every penny.

Jumel23 : No trumpet solo... not mad just disappointed

Kyle Neese : When he says “let’s do a one size fits all sorts thing”...I immediately shouted “that’s designed to be flexible!!!”

Jonathan Gorman : so much for the trumpet solo

SaitoGamer : That's the difference of working with professionals.

Badkat : ling ling could do this in under a second

James Esteron : THIS IS COMPLETELY MISLEADING! It didn't even took him 8 full minutes to compose the song.

Hippiecat 37 : I have a new respect for Ben Folds. Not many people could do that well, especially while engaging the audience.

MSK Guitars : Was there some guy yelling "Bb Augmented"? Cruel!

Film Empire : Props to the orchestra for playing that so well on the fly!

Rachael Adamczyk : As someone who knows nothing about music, my favorite parts of this were the jokes that made everyone in the audience laugh.

TrickWithAKnife : The level of talent, professionalism, and trust from everyone involved is mind-blowing.

tdc1991x : "Double basses, you know what you must do!"

nofancypants : 5:31 although it isn't what he sounds beautiful!

Demoralized Duck : "Okay, good, good, now do this" *plays beggining of Megalovania*

kyle cormier : Ben Folds is so talented, you can see how much of a fan of music he is. See him live if you ever get the chance.

Nick Doe : Ben where have u been - haven't heard from you in a long time - miss the a capella show

sapuska : best James Bond theme ever.

Katie.Redmond : Funny how I watched this yesterday in music class with the teachers and now it’s in my recommended. Glad it is though, it’s amazing

noah smith : I love the ragtime piano he threw in

thatkippy : Seeing Ben do this live in KCMO was amazing. The whole symphony was having THE best time playing with him. Playing the same things all the time gets boring, ya know?

Jason Escalera : 48 trumpet players disliked this video

Totally Nothin : this feels like fl studio

Cloudhills : This video makes me so incredibly happy! Ben Folds is just so cool! And the orchestra is so cool! And wow! I'm so happyyyyy :D

GOD GIVEN : Is it just me or does this sound like something out of Studio Ghibli? Must've just watched some 🔥🔥

BENNICHI : against the clock: composer edition