How TikTok is helping to discover the next generation of young classical talent

22 October 2021, 17:48

The classical music TikTok stars
The classical music TikTok stars. Picture: TikTok

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

TikTok has fast become a platform for upcoming talents to be discovered, with daily hashtags encouraging creators to showcase their skills. So according to TikTok, who are the next big stars for classical music?

TikTok is a short-form video platform with over one billion monthly active users.

The app first launched worldwide in 2018 and since then has spring-boarded the careers of multiple influencers, comedians, singers, make-up, and visual artists.

But what about classical music? Which classical musicians can you find on the platform, and who can credit their career success to the app?

Read more: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Phantom of the WAPera’ TikTok mashup confuses the world

Esther Abrami

Listed by Julian Lloyd Webber as one of the ‘30 under 30’ classical artists to watch’ on Classic FM, Esther Abrami boasts over 300,000 followers on TikTok, alongside thousands of other fans across her other social media platforms.

The 25-year-old is a graduate of both the Royal College of Music and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and uses social media to share practice videos, sight-reading videos, and tips and techniques for aspiring young musicians.

In 2019, Abrami became the first classical musician to be nominated in the Social Media Superstar category at the Global Awards.

She is also one of five musicians featured in the Sky Arts TV special, Classic FM’s Rising Stars with Julian Lloyd Webber.

Read more: Watch Classic FM’s Rising Stars with Julian Lloyd Webber – a TV special on Sky Arts

Signed exclusively to Sony Classics, the young violinist is due to release her self-titled debut album on 4 February 2022.

A melting pot of genres, the album features works from 19th-century great Clara Schumann and modern compositions by pianist Alex Ffrench, as well as iconic songs from film. The first single, Hope, Ascending, is now available on all major platforms, and an accompanying music video was released at the end of October, which you can watch below.

Babatunde Akinboboye

Nigerian American Baritone, Babatunde Akinboboye, is an opera singer of diverse talents, and the founder of the genre Hip Hopera.

In December 2018 he became a viral sensation when he posted a video of himself singing Gioachino Rossini's aria ‘Largo al factotum’ (aka. Figaro), from the opera Barber of Seville, over American rapper Kendrick Lamar's track, Humble.

Since then, his social media presence has gone from strength to strength, and his TikTok account now totals almost 500,000 followers.

Off the back of his original Hip Hopera video success, he released his debut EP, Della Citta, in 2019.

Alexander Joseph

Pianist and composer Alexander Joseph went viral on TikTok in December 2020 with his reimagining of Beethoven’s Für Elise in the style of Einaudi.

He routinely receives thousands of views on his videos and has racked up over 60,000 followers on TikTok.

After his first viral video, he released his version of Für Elise across streaming platforms, as well as selling the sheet music for his arrangement on his website.

Jozi Opera

Johannesburg Opera supports education and the development of South African singers, and their TikTok page has earned them over 400,000 likes for their content.

Their first post on the site has been viewed over 1.5million times; in the video two singers perform The Flower Duet, from Léo Delibes’ opera Lakmé.

Users commenting on the video have called this version “the new original” as the clip has attracted worldwide attention.

Patrick Santos (aka. Rat.Trick)

From Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ to Holst’s The Planets, this Canadian drummer adds full drum kit to pieces of classical music.

His TikTok account, @Rat.Trick, has attracted almost 100,000 followers and gained over 2.4 million likes for his creative videos. Users can even contact Patrick through the link in his TikTok profile, to request a professional drum reimagining of their own tracks.

Luke Spine

Composer Luke Spine creates musical illustrations using a piano roll editor, for his 60,000-strong audience.

The TikTok account has earned over 3.1 million likes, and his previous projects include revealing what countries and names sound like as music.

Read more: A TikTok composer is painstakingly setting every name to beautiful piano music

It’s wonderful to see TikTok being used to help evolve classical music, and to engage and excite the next generation of classical lovers across social media.

The future of classical music is in safe hands...