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Press Release


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Kathleen Fitzgerald                                                                        




World's first collaborative online orchestra will connect aspiring musicians with leaders and stars in the classical world

YouTube Symphony Orchestra Summit and Carnegie Hall performance to take place in April 2009

San Bruno, CA – December 2, 2008 – YouTube™, the leading online video community that allows people to discover, watch and share original videos, today announced a collaboration with 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, the first YouTube Symphony Orchestra Global Ambassador, and many other classical music stars and leading institutions, to launch the "YouTube Symphony Orchestra" (www.youtube.com/symphony), the world's first collaborative online orchestra and summit.

From December 1, 2008 through January 28, 2009, musicians from around the world are invited to submit videos showcasing their personal style as they perform two different videos – their interpretation of an original Tan Dun composition, written specifically for this program, and a talent video designed to demonstrate their musical and technical abilities. A panel of musical experts from the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and other leading orchestras around the world will narrow the field of entries down to the semifinalists. The YouTube community will be invited to vote on the semifinalists from February 14, 2009 through February 22, 2009. Musicians who are selected will be announced on YouTube on March 2, 2009.  For official rules of entry and FAQ, consult YouTube Symphony Orchestra Channel (www.youtube.com/symphony).

In April 2009, selected musicians will be flown to New York City to participate in a three-day classical music summit with Michael Tilson Thomas and leading performers in the field, culminating in a Carnegie Hall performance on April 15, 2009. In addition, selected video entries of the musical piece will be mashed together to create a living YouTube symphony -- a single video of memorable entrants combined into one ensemble piece -- and even more entries will be displayed on YouTube homepages around the world.  

As the first YouTube-sponsored program to welcome submissions from every country around the world, YouTube Symphony Orchestra will transform individual performances into a global collaborative symphony, explore new possibilities for orchestral collaboration, and springboard talented classical musicians into the global YouTube spotlight.

"The internet is an invisible Silk Road, joining people from across the world. East or West, North or South, anyone can download a score of my "Internet Symphony No. 1 'Eroica', pick any part and play it with any instrument or object, in any style," said Grammy and Academy Award -winning composer Tan Dun. "YouTube is the biggest stage on earth, and I want to see what the world's undiscovered musical geniuses will create on it."

"Classical music is a thousand-year old tradition that witnesses the human spirit. It has preserved the songs and dances of our ancestors and made them into a language that is equal parts thought and feeling. This language has been passed on from teacher to student and parent to child from generation to generation. Now through the YouTube Symphony Orchestra project, we will explore new ways for music lovers of all levels to use technology to discover how vast our tradition is, to create new work and learn from one another," said Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony; Artistic Director of the New World Symphony; and Artistic Advisor for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra program. "Music brings people together as no other art. Deepening that process by making the creative/communicative possibilities of video and the internet more available to musicians everywhere is one of our highest goals."

"The LSO is delighted to be a part of this groundbreaking initiative with YouTube -- to unite people from all over the globe and delight in the joys and experiences of playing in an orchestra. It is very much in keeping with our ethos of using technology to link people, share ideas, and be inspired and creative," said Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director, London Symphony Orchestra.

"YouTube is a unique platform for musical artists to broadcast their work. Through the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, aspiring musicians can share their passion with institutions like Carnegie Hall and the London Symphony Orchestra, visionaries like Lang Lang, and the world" said Ed Sanders, Product Marketing Manager, YouTube. "We are honored to partner with these venerable organizations and individuals to reach the next milestone for ensemble music and global collaboration."

"For musicians of all ages, nationalities, and instruments, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra provides a unique opportunity not only to perform on the world's most famous stage – Carnegie Hall – but also on its largest stage -- YouTube," said Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall. "As an institution that is passionately committed to making great music available to as many people as possible and whose remarkable history chronicles the defining moments of so many of the world's most admired and beloved artists, Carnegie Hall believes the creation of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra will be a one-of-a-kind moment in classical music, bringing musicians together in a totally new, modern and compelling way."

Selected list of program partners (As of December 1, 2008)

Amsterdam Music School

Arnhem Music School

ArtEZ School of Music


Bamberger Symphoniker

Bangalore Music Association

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Carnegie Hall

Conservatorio Real

Conservatorium van Amsterdam

Conservatorium Maastricht


Valery Gergiev

The Hague Music School

Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra

Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

Imma Shara

Lang Lang, First YouTube Symphony Orchestra Global Ambassador

Liceu Barcelona

London Symphony Orchestra

Moscow Conservatory

National Music Conservatory

New World Symphony

New York Philharmonic

Orchesta de Galicia

Orchestra Filarmonica

Orchestre de Paris

Orquesta Nacional

Petersburg Conservatory

Prague Philharmonica

Radio France

Rotterdam Philharmonic

San Francisco Symphony

G. Schirmer

Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra

Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra

Tan Dun

The Rotterdam Conservatoire
The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

The Royal Conservatoire

Michael Tilson Thomas

William Joseph International Academy

Yale School of Music

About YouTube
YouTube is the world's most popular online video community allowing millions of people to discover, watch and share originally created 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.