Beginning Monday, YouTube has issued an open audition to all classical musicians who have access to the Internet's largest user-generated video Web site. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra shall be a result of the efforts of Chinese composer Tan Dun, Google, The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and many other classical music institutions worldwide. Participants are encouraged to download sheet music for Dun's original composition "Eroica," practice the piece and one other of the musician's choice, and upload both to the YouTube Channel by January 28. Resources are available on the orchestra channel of the LSO instrument-specific master classes and conducting videos by Tan Dun. A jury made up of "musical experts from the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and other leading orchestras around the world" will narrow the auditions to a group of semifinalists. These will be voted on by the YouTube public in February.
When the winners perform in Carnegie Hall, the music will be played by the world's first online collaborative orchestra. Tilson Thomas in Reuters said today the program would "explore new ways for music lovers of all levels to use technology to discover how vast our tradition is." The Symphony section of the site is enjoyable to even non-classical fans, with performances and conversations by LSO members. Their excitement about this project is tangible and infectious.
As the most unique project from the three-year-old site, it is a departure from the previous television or movie partnerships, as well as live Web casted events, such as last month's YouTube Live. With YouTube's unique access to the global population, it is likely that the number of auditions will be considerable. Not only does it bring classical music out of the music hall to the people, it brings a gentrified musical genre to a youth-dominated forum. This author, for one, thinks she will dust off that bass clarinet.