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Apr 10, 2016

Hungarian talent show going global

It's about classical music and young, up-and-coming talent. It has become the latest television craze in Hungary, and now it's going global. The creators of the popular television show "Virtuosos" have signed a deal with Dick Clark Productions, the company behind the American Music Awards, to license the format of the program internationally.

According to the Associated Press, Mariann Peller, creator and producer of "Virtuosos" and an experienced music promoter, said she was inspired by the idea after noticing that fewer and fewer young people were listening to or performing classical music.

"I saw only gray hairs in the orchestra and the auditorium," Peller said. "One of the aims of the program is to make classical music trendy.” On a recent visit to Hungary, Placido Domingo praised "Virtuosos" for allowing young, classical musicians the chance to compete in way that is typically reserved for pop music.

"Virtuosos" was a huge hit in 2014 for Hungarian state television. The second season includes nine episodes of about 90 minutes and a gala event and features 81 participants from over 2,200 musicians in three age groups. Those who get to the semi-finals are backed by a chamber ensemble and this season's finalists — students in elementary school, high school or music universities — will play with Hungary's National Philharmonic Orchestra.

"It is a great joy for us that a Hungarian format can finally set foot abroad," Peller said. "I am very happy to put this talent show format in the hands of professionals who will make a worldwide show out of it."

Read more from the Associated Press here.