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YouTube announces YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011

YouTube™ today announced a collaboration with Sydney Opera House, Grammy Award-winning conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, the London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, and many other leading institutions and figures of the classical music world, to launch the “YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011” (, a global online audition for a collaborative orchestra where amateur musicians can share their knowledge and experience of making music with the support of some of the world’s leading classical artists.  Musicians selected for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 will be invited to a week-long classical music summit of rehearsals, concerts, and master classes at Sydney Opera House in March 2011, culminating in a performance conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.

The announcement at synchronized events at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House follows the success of the original YouTube Symphony Orchestra, which, after thousands of global submissions, brought more than 90 musicians from 30 countries to play a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall in April, 2009.

The online audition period for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 opens October 12, 2010, and auditions extend through November 28, 2010. To be considered, musicians from around the world are invited to upload audition videos of designated pieces to demonstrate their musical and technical abilities. New this year, an additional search for solo improvisers brings a further dimension to the project, beyond traditional classical instruments, and invites further online collaboration. For the solo improviser audition, musicians may submit an original improvisation, on any instrument, based on the new composition “Mothership” by composer Mason Bates for the opportunity to play their own solo during the final performance. An expert panel drawn from leading orchestras around the world will narrow entries down to the semifinalists in both audition categories. The YouTube community will then be invited to vote online from December 10, 2010 through December 17, 2010. Musicians who are selected from this semifinalist group will be announced on YouTube on January 11, 2011. For official rules of entry and FAQ, consult the YouTube Symphony Orchestra channel (

In March 2011, selected musicians will be flown to the iconic setting of Sydney Opera House to participate in a week-long classical music summit with leading performers in the field, culminating in a final performance on March 20, 2011, which will be live-streamed on YouTube. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 will further focus on celebrating musical education, offering online master classes with orchestras around the world and classes for Australian musicians during the summit week in March. The program also works to bring the creative multi-media and collaborative qualities of YouTube into the classical music world. It aims to use the inherent democracy of the Internet to offer musicians around the world — whether professional, aspiring, or retired — an opportunity to play at Sydney Opera House.

Conductor and Artistic Advisor Michael Tilson Thomas said, “We’re exploring how classical music’s 1200-year-long tradition can enter the realm of high technology and what that will mean for its mission and legacy. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall was a first step in that process. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 at Sydney Opera House will be the next step as we seek to expand beyond the rehearsal room, beyond the concert hall and connect with a global audience.”

“We have a real sense of excitement that the YouTube Symphony Orchestra is living on,” said Ed Sanders, Senior Marketing Manager at YouTube. “This is a magical way to connect and inspire people.  Last year we helped fundamentally challenge the norms of an entire industry, and provided a digital meeting place for classical musicians right around the world.  In 2011 we want to see how the vibrant online music community, classical and otherwise, collaborates to create something truly special through this project.”

“Just as Michael Tilson Thomas talks about expanding beyond the rehearsal room and beyond the concert hall, so Sydney Opera House is committed to presenting our unique experiences and venues beyond our physical site’, said Sydney Opera House CEO Richard Evans.  “By hosting the YouTube Symphony Orchestra in 2011 we are moving offsite and online to access musicians around the world while simultaneously giving the global YouTube community the opportunity to directly input into this explosion of creativity and its ongoing legacy.”

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra has further support in some countries by local music institutions, including the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

About YouTube
YouTube™ is the world’s most popular online video community allowing millions of people to discover, watch and share original videos. YouTube™ provides a forum for people to connect, inform and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small. YouTube™, LLC is based in San Bruno, Calif., and is a subsidiary of Google Inc.

About Sydney Opera House
In giving the world one of the 20th century’s greatest buildings, Jørn Utzon changed the creative and cultural landscape of Australia forever. Sydney Opera House is committed to continuing the legacy of Utzon’s creative genius by creating, producing and presenting the most acclaimed, imaginative and engaging performing arts experiences from Australia and around the world – onsite, offsite and online. As the creative and cultural flagship of Australia, Sydney Opera House is the place where imagination takes you.

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Abbi Tatton, YouTube: [email protected]   
Glenn Petry, 21C Media Group: [email protected]

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