Press Room

YouTube Symphony Orchestra Meets for the First Time in New York

San Bruno, CA – The YouTube Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Artistic Advisor and Conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, will meet for the first time in New York City April 12-15 for a global classical music summit at the Juilliard School.  These talented musicians will participate in master classes with world-renowned musicians, rehearse together, and share in each other’s diverse experiences and backgrounds.  The summit culminates in a concert event at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, April 15 at 7:30 PM.  More than 90 musicians from 30 different countries are participating in the world’s first orchestra selected entirely through online auditions.

“I am very pleased that so many excellent artists will be joining our exploration with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra,” said Michael Tilson Thomas, Artistic Advisor and conductor of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, as well as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Artistic Director of the New World Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.  Over the course of his career, he has been committed to bringing classical music to a wider audience.  “This is an adventure for all of us.”

Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi stated, ““We’re delighted that this innovative project is generating such tremendous interest in music and musicians. The Juilliard School is happy to host this international gathering of participating musicians and distinguished mentors as they rehearse and prepare for the concert.”

A dozen mentors are scheduled to participate in the summit.  “For me the YouTube Symphony is one of the most exciting things to happen to classical music in my lifetime,” said Ian Bousfield, a British trombone player with the Vienna Philharmonic who will also perform alongside YTSO members in the April 15 concert at Carnegie Hall.  “The chance to bring musicians from all areas and backgrounds throughout the whole world together to help and share is incredible.” 

Joel Smirnoff, Juilliard Quartet violinist and President of the Cleveland Institute of Music, is another summit mentor.  “The YouTube Symphony is the most ambitious attempt at something we have all been wishing for: the veritable surge of interest in classical music on the Web among young people around the world is, firstly, recognized and then, in some way, translated into real human interaction and live music making,” said Mr. Smirnoff.  “What better place to meet off the Web than Carnegie Hall?”

Principal Bassoonist of the San Francisco Symphony, Stephen Paulson, will also serve as a mentor and perform in Carnegie Hall.  “The kind of online communication I have been experiencing through the YouTube Symphony Orchestra project is exciting, but there is no substitute for live collaboration among musicians. Our job is to bring together the enormous talents of individual musicians from around the world, and in three days perform as though we have been together for years. This is challenging and it’s great fun!”

The summit includes an open-microphone event for members of the orchestra at the nightclub Le Poisson Rouge in New York City’s Greenwich Village.  Free and open to the public, the free-form show begins at 10:00 PM on Tuesday, April 14.  For information, visit  

The next night, April 15, the orchestra will perform in Carnegie Hall.  The program features guest artists, chamber ensembles, large orchestra, electronica and multimedia, with music from Gabrieli to Tan Dun’s Internet Symphony No. 1 “Eroica,” written for this occasion.  A video mashup of the work, created from selected video entries, will be posted on the YouTube Symphony channel:  Tickets ($25-$50; $10 for students) are on sale now through Carnegie Charge at (212) 247-7800 and

Following is a list of mentors participating in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra summit:

§       Joel Smirnoff, Violin (President, Cleveland Institute of Music; Faculty, The Juilliard School; Juilliard String Quartet)

§       Michelle Kim, Violin (Assistant Concertmaster, New York Philharmonic)

§       Roberto Diaz, Viola (President, Curtis Institute of Music; Former Principal Viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra)

§       Eileen Moon, Cello (Associate Principal Cello, New York Philharmonic)

§       Herbert Mayr, Bass (Solo Bass, Vienna Philharmonic)

§       Liang Wang, Oboe (Principal Oboe, New York Philharmonic; Faculty, Manhattan School of Music)

§       Stephen Paulson, Bassoon (Principal Bassoon, San Francisco Symphony; Bassoon Instructor, San Francisco Conservatory of Music; Music Director, Symphony Parnassus)

§       David Bilger, Trumpet (Principal Trumpet, Philadelphia Orchestra; Faculty, Curtis Institute of Music)

§       Rolf Smedvig, Trumpet (Founder and Leader, Empire Brass)          

§       Ian Bousfield, Trombone (Solo Trombone, Vienna Philharmonic)

§       Ted Atkatz, Percussion (Former Principal Percussionist, Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Faculty, Lynn Conservatory of Music)

§       Edwin Outwater, Assistant Conductor (Music Director, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony)

About the YouTube Symphony Orchestra

One of “The World’s Most Inspiring Orchestras,” according to Gramophone magazine, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra ( 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 ( has received more than 14 million views worldwide with visitors from more than 200 countries and territories.  Over 3,000 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 70 countries and territories on six continents.

View the participants’ videos at and their video introductions.

About The Juilliard School

The Juilliard School established this country’s standard for education in the performing arts, beginning with music in 1905. In 1951, its Dance Division was established, with combined training in contemporary and ballet technique. Juilliard became part of Lincoln Center in 1968, and added a four-year drama program. In 2001, Juilliard broke new ground with the addition of its first jazz program; a graduate program in Historical Performance begins in Fall 2009, the same year that Juilliard inaugurates its partnership with the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. For more information, visit Juilliard’s Web site at

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PRESS OPPORTUNITIES: A schedule of opportunities will be available on Wednesday, April 8. 

A YouTube Symphony Orchestra website specifically for the media is available at: 

For further information, contact:
Kate Berland: [email protected]
Glenn Petry: (212) 625-2038, [email protected]

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