Press Room

YouTube Symphony Orchestra to Perform Vibrantly Diverse Concerts at Sydney Opera House

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 is the world’s most global ensemble, its members drawn from more than 30 countries.  From March 15 to 20 at Australia’s iconic Sydney Opera House, the orchestra will play a week of concerts that aptly reflect the vibrantly diverse, dizzyingly inventive 21st century.  The programs, listed in full below, draw on centuries of music from the Baroque to the brand new, and from the great European tradition to composers from Australia, Asia, and the Americas.  The week’s lineup ranges from showcases of the orchestra’s individual percussion, brass, wind, and string sections to two full orchestral events on March 19 and 20 led by ensemble artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas – and streamed live on YouTube.
The world-class artists joining the young musicians of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 onstage in Sydney include violinists Richard Tognetti, Colin Jacobsen, and Stefan Jackiw, trumpeter Hakan Hardenberger, organist Cameron Carpenter, percussion group Synergy, and conductor Ilyich Rivas.
The week in Sydney includes the world premiere of Mothership, an ambitious piece written especially for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 by American composer Mason Bates.  There will be scores on offer from an international array of contemporary composers: America’s Steve Reich and Christopher Rouse, Britain’s Mark-Anthony Turnage, Cuban-born Paquito D’Rivera, Russian-born Ljova, Iran’s Siamek Aghaei, and Australia’s own Timothy Constable and Nigel Westlake (with the latter’s Omphalo Centric Lecture for didgeridoo and percussion to be performed twice).  There will be featured classics from Purcell, Vivaldi, Mozart, Schubert, Berlioz, Verdi, and Tchaikovsky to Stravinsky, Varèse, Britten, Ginastera, and Piazzolla.  Also played will be rare gems from Beethoven, Dukas, Cowell, Grainger, Strauss, and Takemitsu, plus such intriguing arrangements as Dutchman Herman Jeurissen’s Tristan Fantasy for Six Horns after Wagner.
The YouTube Symphony Orchestra ( is a global online collaborative ensemble in which musicians share their knowledge and the experience of making music, with leading classical artists lending their support as guides and fellow performers.  Based on thousands of video auditions from around the world, the 2011 incarnation of the orchestra brings together 101 musicians from 33 countries; the players range in age from 14 to 49, and they comprise amateurs and professionals, and students and teachers – including some who have never previously traveled outside their home countries.
The concert lineup and repertoire for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011’s week in Sydney is as follows:
Tuesday, March 15
Sydney Opera House, Studio
Nigel Westlake (b. 1958): Omphalo Centric Lecture
Henry Cowell (1897-1965): Ostinato Pianissimo
Steve Reich (b. 1936): Music for Pieces of Wood
Edgard Varèse (1883-1965): Ionisation
Timothy Constable (b. 1981): Suna
Toru Takemitsu (1930-96): Rain Tree for three percussionists
Christopher Rouse (b.1949): Ogoun Badagris 
Wednesday, March 16
Sydney Conservatorium, Verbruggen Hall
Paul Dukas (1865-1935): Fanfare from La Peri
Verne Reynolds (b.1926): Music for Five Trumpets
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Drei Equale
Richard Wagner (1813-83), arr. Jeurissen: Tristan Fantasy for Six Horns
Cameron Carpenter: Organ Improvisation
Eugéne Gigout (1844-1925): Grand Choeur Dialogué
Mark-Anthony Turnage (b. 1960): Set To
Richard Strauss (1864-1949): Fanfare for the Vienna Philharmonic
Thursday, March 17
Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91): Quintet in E-flat for piano and winds (third movement)
Paquito D’Rivera (b. 1948): Fiddle Dreams
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971): Octet
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Wind Octet (second movement)
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), arr. A. Marriner: La forza del destino, Act III Entr’acte
Ástor Piazzolla (1921-92): Oblivion
Antonin Dvorák (1841-1904): Serenade in D minor (second and fourth movements)
Friday, March 18
Sydney Opera House, Playhouse
Henry Purcell (1659-95): Fantasia in F (“Upon one note”)
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Concerto for four violins
Ljova (Lev Zhurbin, b. 1978): Budget Bulgur
Franz Schubert (1797-1828), arr. Tognetti: Death and the Maiden (second movement)
Wilhelm Fitzenhagen (1848-90): Konzertwalzer
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93): Serenade for Strings (finale) 
Siamak Aghaei / Colin Jacobsen: Ascending Bird, suite for string orchestra
Saturday, March 19 / Sunday, March 20
FINAL CONCERTS, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas
Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall
Percy Grainger (1882-1961): “Arrival at Platform Humlet” from In a Nutshell, suite
Hector Berlioz (1803-69): Roman Carnival overture
J.S. Bach (1685-1750): “Toccata” from Toccata & Fugue in F, BWV 540
   With Cameron Carpenter, organ
Alberto Ginastera (1916-83): Estancia: Danza del trigo and Danza final (Malambo)
   With Ilyich Rivas, conductor
W.A. Mozart (1756-91): “Caro bell’ idol mio” (K. 562)
   With Sydney Children’s Choir
Benjamin Britten (1913-76): Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Richard Strauss (1864-1949): Fanfare for the Vienna Philharmonic
Mason Bates (b. 1977): Mothership (world premiere)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47): Violin Concerto in E minor: Finale
   With Stefan Jackiw, violin, and Ilyich Rivas, conductor
Nigel Westlake (b. 1958): Omphalo Centric Lecture
   With William Barton, didgeridoo, and Synergy Percussion
Trad., arr. Siamak Aghaei / Colin Jacobsen: Ascending Bird: suite for string orchestra
   With Colin Jacobsen and Richard Tognetti, violins
Igor Stravinsky (1883-1971): The Firebird (1910): Danse Infernale, Berceuse, and Finale
Visual art to accompany the music
For the final concert on March 20, California-based firm Obscura Digital will visually enhance the artistry of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 with real-time, audio-reactive graphic projections that will simultaneously canvas the interior and exterior of the Sydney Opera House with parallel projection shows.  Obscura Digital’s technical artists will integrate live camera feeds from the concert hall with stylized treatments and live digital painting, beaming the projections from a half-mile away onto the facade of the building’s western sails.  This complex array of interactive graphic effects from the exterior will then be brought back into the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.
Global music education
Throughout the week in Sydney, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 will celebrate musical education by offering online master classes with orchestras across the globe and on-site classes for Australian musicians.  The program brings the creative multimedia and collaborative qualities of YouTube to the classical music community, using the inherent egalitarianism of the internet to offer unique opportunities to musicians around the world.
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, CA, and is a subsidiary of Google Inc.
Changing the face of the classical music audience
YouTube’s innovative, groundbreaking YouTube Symphony Orchestra project is changing the face of the classical music audience by attracting new participants and audiences.  Many of the 10 million views on the YouTube Symphony Orchestra channel are from young people between the ages of 13 and 24.  The channel provides a platform for musicians of all ages to flourish, share their creativity, and broadcast themselves.
YouTube is a unique platform for connecting artists around the world.  Classical music brings people together and transcends language, and the YouTube Symphony Orchestra furthers YouTube’s original mission of cultivating an online community.  The program marks the first time anyone has attempted to bring musicians around the world together through this type of technology.
“YouTube is bringing classical music to audiences far and wide in a positive, exciting, and cool way,” observes Sarah Willis, principal horn of the Berlin Philharmonic.  “Through modern technology, it’s reaching people who wouldn’t otherwise have a clue about the classical music world.  This is why I support it so much; we have to invest in audiences of the future.  YouTube is huge, and to be able to reach new audiences through such a popular medium is just fantastic and makes it global and fun.  It’s great to feel a part of it.”
YouTube Symphony Orchestra’s partners, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, have already uploaded educational content in the form of master classes, which can be viewed on the YouTube Symphony Orchestra channel.  With the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, YouTube is creating a platform for creative dialogue and instruction.  Other institutions participating in the site’s classical music program include the Amsterdam School of Music, Barcelona’s Liceu, the Moscow Conservatory, and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
For musicians of all ages, nationalities, and instruments, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra and summit offer unparalleled reach and the unique chance to perform in front of YouTube’s massive global audience.  The participants showcase their talent, and their submissions are seen by many of the world’s leading musicians and judged by a panel of experts from the London Symphony Orchestra and the orchestras of Berlin, Hong Kong, Sydney, New York, and more.  As the internet democratizes the process of discovering talent, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra provides musicians from unlikely places with a platform to showcase their art.
Tan Dan, Academy Award-winning composer of the film score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, said at the project’s inception: “YouTube is the biggest stage on Earth, and I want to see what the world’s undiscovered musical geniuses will create on it.”
About the Sydney Opera House
In giving the world one of the 20th century’s greatest buildings, Jorn Utzon changed the creative and cultural landscape of Australia forever.  The Sydney Opera House is committed to continuing the legacy of Utzon’s creative genius by creating, producing, and presenting the most celebrated, imaginative, and engaging performing arts experiences from Australia and around the world – onsite, offsite, and online.  As the creative and cultural flagship of Australia, the Sydney Opera House is the place where imagination takes you.

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