SOURCE: YouTube

April 16, 2009 00:48 ET

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra Rocks Carnegie Hall

From Webcam to Concert Hall -- 96 Musicians From 30 Countries Come Together in Harmony for a Groundbreaking Performance

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - April 16, 2009) - The YouTube Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Artistic Advisor and Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas performed live to a sell-out audience at Carnegie Hall, on Wednesday night, April 15. The event marked the debut concert performance of the orchestra, made up of musicians who auditioned online via YouTube. The concert program was a celebration of the creative, democratic and interactive culture of the Internet, featuring an eclectic playlist of classical music styles and periods.

Ninety-six musicians speaking from more than 30 countries came together in harmony after two and half days of intense rehearsal and artistic collaboration.

"Tonight's performance presents the meeting of different worlds online and in real time," said Michael Tilson Thomas in his opening address. "Classical music is an unbroken 1200 year-long tradition that spans Gregorian chant to electronics. It's too vast, too diverse to be defined. But now we don't have to define it, we can experience it anytime online on YouTube."

The program featured guest artists, soloists, chamber groups, a full symphony orchestra, and electronica, and included works by Gabrieli, Bach, Mozart, Debussy, Villa Lobos, a guided group improvisation from John Cage, as well as a premiere excerpt from "B-Sides," a new piece by composer/DJ Mason Bates. Academy Award-winning Chinese composer, Tan Dun conducted his own Internet Symphony "Eroica," written especially for this occasion accompanied by a video mash-up of memorable entrants. A visual journey designed by Travis Threlkel of Obscura Digital was projected onto the historical Carnegie Hall architecture creating an immersive video experience.

"Now, after so many months of only meeting via the internet, we finally meet face to face and play eye to eye for the first time in Carnegie Hall," said Tan Dun. "I feel so honored to participate with all the online heroes to invent a new era of classical music, to educate and pass along the traditions of classical music."

"YouTube put ninety people from every corner of the globe in the same room and asked them to play Mozart. I had no idea what to expect," said Lauren Brigden, a violist from Australia. "Michael Tilson Thomas did a magnificent job in bringing out the best in all of us, and I will leave New York having helped make some amazing music and a whole lot of new friends."

The three day classical music summit ended with a roaring standing ovation and an encore.

About the YouTube Symphony Orchestra

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra (www.YouTube.com/Symphony) is the world's first orchestra selected entirely through auditions online. The project is a collaboration between YouTube, the London Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Grammy Award-winning conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, Academy Award-winning and Olympics composer Tan Dun, world-renowned pianist Lang Lang, and many other classical musicians and leading institutions.

Since the launch of this initiative in December 2008, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra's channel (www.YouTube.com/Symphony) has received more than 15 million views worldwide with visitors from more than two hundred countries and territories. Over three thousand videos were submitted to YouTube by musicians from Azerbaijan to Venezuela. These participants, consisting of professional and amateur musicians of all ages and on all instruments, represented more than seventy countries and territories on six continents.

After a preliminary screening by musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and San Francisco Symphony, among others, videos from 200 finalists were collected and posted on the YouTube Symphony Orchestra channel in February 2009. These finalists ranged in age from 15 to 55. The global YouTube community voted for their favorites and the project's Artistic Advisor, Mr. Tilson Thomas, reviewed the finalists to create the orchestra that performed at Carnegie Hall on April 15.

The musicians comprising the YouTube Symphony Orchestra are from more than 30 different countries and territories: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The members of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra participated in a classical music summit in New York City April 12-15, under the direction of Mr. Tilson Thomas, that involved master classes with world-class musicians, rehearsals, and the opportunity to share in each other's diverse experiences and backgrounds. The summit culminated with a sell-out performance at Carnegie Hall. Selected video entries of Tan Dun's Internet Symphony No. 1 Eroica, written especially for this occasion, have been mashed together to create a single ensemble video of memorable entrants. The performance and mash-up video are available to watch in full at www.YouTube.com/Symphony.

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