One Year, Millions of Views: SFCM Looks Back on Its First Year on TikTok
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music commands one of the largest followings of any college in the country. Here’s a look at some of the most viewed clips.
By Alex Heigl
SFCM launched a TikTok channel in November of 2021, which, in just a little over a year, became one of its largest avenues to communicate the excellence of its students, faculty, and visiting artists. (And the largest non-profit performing arts organization account on the platform in the country.)
Of course, none of that would have been possible without some of the students, faculty and visiting artists who graced the TikTok feed—here are some of the stars from the school's first year on the social network.
Nordhorn's rendition of the horn solo from Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony went extremely wide on TikTok, accruing 9.1 million views, 1.4 million likes and 29,000 shares. And while those auditioning him weren't aware of his TikTok fame, Nordhorn has a pretty good story to tell his new friends at the Spokane Symphony, which he joined on horn for their 2022-2023 season.
Pre-college student Ava Pakiam's performance clip from her appearance with the Seattle Symphony racked up 3.1 million views and nearly 539,000 likes. Not bad for a middle-schooler.
Pyke's viral moment came courtesy of her stunning take on the flute solo from Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe, which picked up 1.5 million views by the time it was done (along with another cool million-plus views for the other three videos posted of her playing). Like Nordhorn, she joined the Spokane Symphony this year, as Principal Flute.
Kraft, then a freshman, took on Niccolò Paganini’s notoriously difficult violin Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 6, and nailed it. The four videos of her playing posted to SFCM's TikTok have since totaled over 1.5 million views.
Roots, Jazz, and American Music
Some of the musicians of SFCM's Roots, Jazz, and American Music (RJAM) program landed on the radar of the bustling world of #jazztok with footage of a performance that pulled in 670,000 views.
Iconic jazz bassist Rufus Reid had his own moment in the Tok-light with a segment from his masterclass in which he asked those in the room to hum a note, before playing a beautiful solo over it and concluding, "you don't need but two notes."
Graduate student Jihye Kim snagged some pianist representation in the SFCM TikTok Hall of Fame with her excerpt of the Liszt Sonata in B Minor, S. 178, which drew 316,000 sets of rapt eyes.
Under the direction of SFCM Music Director Edwin Outwater, videos of the SFCM Orchestra pulled in just under 500,000 views, with at least some of that being as music students everywhere thrilled to hearing Outwater tell a harpist to play their instrument so hard they'd "almost" break it. (Almost.)
Oboist Andrew Port—now serving as a Fellow with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago—rode an extravagant display of his technique on the instrument to 171,000 in views of a chamber music performance.
Speaking of technique, guitar faculty Meng Su put her mastery of her instrument on display for TikTok in April, performing “Fantaisie Dramatique” by Napoleon Coste and netting her almost 150,000 views.
And last but not least, an honorable mention to the SFCM winter term class led by Strings Chair Simon James that gave every student enrolled their own opportunity to solo with an orchestra in a somewhat less stressful environment than a regular SFCM Orchestra performance. A clip from the class featuring Alyssa Tong and Colton Potter playing Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C Minor snagged 113,000 views.