The American Youth Symphony (AYS), a non-profit organisation in the forefront
of music education and awareness, will be producing a reality television talent
competition for instrumental musicians called America's Hot Musician.
program will air its first 12 episode season in early 2007 in about 200 markets
via a coordinated cable network/paid programming schedule, according to AYS executive
director Susan Veres.
AYS, whose Plight of American
Music Initiative has been promoted in publications such as American Teacher
and has been taken up in hundreds of schools nationwide, is developing this television
program amid what it calls a "stealth crisis" within the MTV/Hip Hop
"The crisis involves the pervasiveness of sampling and
rapping, which has deterred interest in instrumental performance and patronage
by young people," said AYS artistic director Gregory Charles Royal. Royal, who is the creative
producer of the show, was a trombonist in the Grammy Award-winning Duke Ellington
Orchestra , the Broadway hit Five Guys Named Moe, and in the horn sections
of many top artists including Gladys Knight, The Temptations and The Four Tops.
The show is similar to American Idol in its target demographic, format
and entertainment component but will feature instrumental musicians who audition
on camera in cities across America. They will compete for a chance to record a
The judging panel will include a couple of luminaries that
will be announced at a press conference set for June 2006. Registration for contestants
will begin 20 March through the America's Hot Musician website. There will
be an $8 registration fee for entrants to help offset the non-profit organisation's
Veres says, "We feel this program is so important to help bridge
the gap between instrumental performance and the young demographic which might
lead to a more wide spread interest in instrumental performance and patronage."