America's Hot Musician Moves to the Oxygen Network with National Symphony
Orchestra Principal Second Violinist Marissa Regni and Former Duke Ellington
Trombonist Gregory Charles Royal as Judges
Washington, DC (PRWEB) February 26, 2007 -- America's Hot Musician, the "American Idol-Real
World-like" TV show for Instrumental musicians which was a top rated series on YouTube and on
Comcast public access channels, will begin airing as a weekly sponsored program on the
Oxygen Network in July, 2007. The program's move to Oxygen, a network co-founded by Oprah
Winfrey reaching 71 million households, will propel the show and it's mission, to promote
instrumental music in the MTV/Hip Hop Generation, into the national spotlight. This, at a time
when attention on the generation has been heightened by recent television specials such as
CNN's Hip Hop: Art or Poison?
The show also signed National Symphony Orchestra Principal Second Violinist Marissa Regni to
judge alongside the colorful Duke Ellington Orchestra alum and trombonist Gregory Charles
"This is the first program of its kind that attracts the MTV/Hip Hop Generation in a format and
language they can relate to with regard to instrumental sounds and musicians," says Royal,
creator of the program and Artistic Director of American Youth Symphony(AYS), a Washington,
DC based musical "think tank" that produces the show.
Royal believes that traditional methods which attempt to lure the broader youth culture into
taking up or appreciating instrumental music have been unsuccessful because of unsavvy
educators, Public Broadcasting styled programming and a new paradigm of non-melodious
electronic sounds in the marketplace. "Young listeners actually believe that rap is melodious and
the DJ, computer programmer, and producer are musicians. I have travelled to schools and
heard kids say 'why should I learn to play the trumpet when I can just get my producer to buy
some beats (pre-recorded orchestrated samples) off the Internet and put some raps to it'. I think
we should embrace rap as a poetic form but bring back the days of Ellington when the live
musician ran the bandstand, for the sake of future patronage of traditional musical genres."
(AYS,whose Plight of American Music Initiative has been promoted in hundreds of schools and in
publications such as American Teacher, has articles and reports detailing this subject at their
website at www.americanyouthsymphony.org).
The program combines the formats of American Idol and MTV's Real World, where contestants
ages 16 to 30 live together in a supervised setting while they compete for a recording contract.
The show is guided by two musical opposites in Royal and Regni.
However, Regni, who has been a principal player in the NSO for over ten years, attended The
Juilliard School and graduated from The Eastman School of Music, is not the stereotypical geeky
classical musician. "Marissa is attractive, hip, and witty, and is obviously extremely talented. She
dispels the stereotypes and will offer a brand new package to Oxygen's young female audience,"
says Susan Veres, Executive Director of AYS.
Royal is the streetwise musician. In addition to playing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra for a
decade, he has played with many other top musicians, performed on Broadway, produced rap
and pop videos, wrote and starred in a JVC Jazz Festival play, and actually lived with legendary
drummer Art Blakey as a teen.
Auditions will be held in May, 2007 in Washington, DC and semi-finalists from the
YouTube/Public Access version of the show will receive an automatic bid to the second round of
the national competition. AYS seeks more female participation in this national version of the
show and is reaching out to the instrumental music community to use the program as a forum to
promote their missions and will offer subsidized advertising opportunities.
America's Hot Musician is a program which is long overdue and as Royal says, "The fact that at
the end of a movie I can read who the dang caterer is but I can't see the name of one musician
who played the music, says it all."