I'm not a music afficianado by any stretch of the imagination, so it wouldn't surprise anyone that Yo-Yo Ma is probably the only classical musician that I can name. I don't know what the experts think of Ma but I think he does an admirable job of promoting the arts, and I love that he's so open to doing things outside of traditional venues for cellists. The video below (found on BookofJoe) is a perfect example:
The video was accompanied by this quote from Spike Jonze:
"The other day, I was lucky enough to be at an event to bring the arts back into schools and got to see an amazing collaboration between Yo-Yo Ma and a young dancer in LA, Lil Buck. Someone who knows Yo-Yo Ma had seen Lil Buck on YouTube and put them together. The dancing is Lil Buck’s own creation and unlike anything I've seen."
That quote reminded me of an article I read a while back in Wired about the impact that Youtube and other video sharing sites on the rate of innovation:
"A series of challenge videos by rival groups of street dancers had created an upward spiral of invention as they strove to outdo one another. The best videos were attracting tens of thousands of views. Much more than pride was at stake. Chu knew something weird was happening when he saw a YouTube video of Anjelo Baligad, a 6-year-old boy from Hawaii who had all of the moves of a professional.
In fact, he wasn’t as good as a professional—he was better. This tyke, known as Lil Demon, was demonstrating tricks few adult dancers could pull off. If 6-year-olds could do this now, Chu imagined, what was dance going to look like in 10 years? As he remarked at last February’s TED conference, where the LXD gave a breathtaking performance: “Dancers have created a whole global laboratory for dance. Kids in Japan are taking moves from a YouTube video created in Detroit, building on it within days and releasing a new video, while teenagers in California are taking the Japanese video and remixing it to create a whole new dance style in itself. This is happening every day. And from these bedrooms and living rooms and garages with cheap webcams come the world’s great dancers of tomorrow.”