What is the YouTube Symphony Orchestra?
The YouTube Symphony Orchestra is an exciting project to create a truly global, collaborative orchestra. We invite you to celebrate the Internet’s unprecedented diversity and collaborative potential through the power of music as a shared language on a global level. We hope the YouTube Symphony Orchestra will bring people together from all over the world, and serve as a venue for established musicians and emerging talent to collaborate joyfully and creatively in a new way. In essence, we're inviting members of the public to audition for places in the orchestra, with the final selection to be voted on by the YouTube community. The winners will be flown to Sydney for a week of musical events culminating in a Grand Finale concert showcasing the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, at the Sydney Opera House. This year, in addition to the classical music audition, we're also running a second component to the competition to find the best solo improvisers, who can submit their improvisations to a piece specially composed for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra by Mason Bates. After public voting, two of the improvisors will be chosen to perform live in Sydney with the orchestra and two runners-up will be invited to perform remotely by streaming video over the internet.
Who is Michael Tilson Thomas?
Michael Tilson Thomas is Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. He is serving as the Artistic Advisor to the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. He conducts the major orchestras of Europe and America. He was the director of the New York Philharmonic Young Peoples Concerts for CBS, founded the Discovery Series with the LSO and in 1987 founded the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestra Academy. His “Keeping Score” program with the San Francisco Symphony is a multi-platform educational concept. His radio series, “The MTT Files", won a Peabody Award in 2008. 2009 marked the debut of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, the first orchestra entirely auditioned online. He is a noted composer, an author and a pianist. He has won ten Grammys for his recordings, is a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France and in 2010 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts at a ceremony at the White House.
Who is Mason Bates?
The music of Mason Bates fuses innovative orchestral writing, the rhythms of electronica and techno, and imaginative narrative forms brought to life by cutting edge sound design. An advocate for
bringing new music to new spaces, he has become known as an artist who moves fluidly between them - performing on electronic drumpad and laptop, for example, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under John Adams at Disney Hall, or integrating members of the San Francisco Symphony into an evening of DJing at the SF club Mezzanine. Highlights of the coming season include performing with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony in The B-Sides - a dance suite that drops into five surreal landscapes - and curating the opening of New World Symphony's new Frank Gehry-designed hall. Currently serving as a composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony, Mason is an American composer living in the Bay Area of California.
How do I participate in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra? Why are you asking me to submit up to two videos?
To be considered for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, you will need to enter the YouTube Symphony Orchestra II contest, and will need to meet all qualifications of the Official Rules. In this year's competition, you can submit up to two videos, one in each of the two categories below. You can submit only one video, or you can submit two videos. You do not need to submit a video in each category in order to be considered. The categories are:
- Classical Audition category: The first video category requires you is a performance of your choice from the pieces listed. This is a chance for you to display your classical musical ability, and will serve as your audition to be considered to perform live with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra (currently scheduled to appear at a live event at the Sydney Opera House on March 20, 2011), under the direction of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.
- Solo Improvision category: The second video category is a performance of your own devising as an improvisation to a portion of a piece composed for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra by Mason Bates. This is a chance for you to display your musical creativity, but make it original. This video may be featured at the final event at the Sydney Opera House and some of the best improvisers may be invited to perform in the Sydney event.
Must I submit both videos?
No, you’re welcome to just submit one video. To be considered as a musician playing in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 you must submit a video to the Classical Audition category, which is your performance of the audition repertoire for your instrument.
How old do I need to be to participate?
You must be at least 14 at the time of submitting your orchestral audition video and/or solo improvisation video.
Do I need to be a professional musician to participate in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra?
Not at all. Everyone is welcome to submit audition videos, whether you are a musical professional or not. So if you’re passionate about music and interested in participating in this unique collaboration, show us what you’ve got! If you don't play an orchestral instrument included in the audition list, you can can still audition in the improvisation competition on any instrument. Note that the Official Rules state that if you are a professional musician, it is your responsibility to ensure that there are no restrictions on you (contractual or otherwise) which would not allow you to participate fully in the YouTube Symphony, including granting the necessary licenses and releases as outlined in the Official Rules.
Can I participate if I was a member of the first YouTube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall?
If you were one of the winners from the first YouTube Symphony Orchestra, you cannot qualify to participate in this orchestra (neither the orchestral performance nor the improvisation).
Can I participate if I submitted a video in the first YouTube Symphony Orchestra competition?
Absolutely! If you just auditioned or even made it to the voting stage, but you were not a winner, we encourage you to upload your videos this time around for your chance to play at the Sydney Opera House and wish you the best of luck.
When do I need to be available to travel if I'm selected as a winner?
The winning YouTube Symphony Orchestra will be hosted in Sydney from March 13th - March 20th 2011; there will be a week of events culminating in a Grand Finale performance by the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 at the Sydney Opera House. Your travel time may require more of your availability, particularly if you have to travel to a YouTube localized country (see the questions below and the Official Rules stating that winner who do not live in a localized country are responsible for their own travel to a localized country). These dates are our targeted dates, but are subject to change up to the time of the event, so keep in mind the requirement in the Official Rules that states that you will need to be available to travel on less than fifteen days notice.
Who are the partners involved?
We’re partnering with orchestras, music schools and musical organizations around the world who will be offering musical assistance via demonstrations and master classes and will help to spread the word and encourage participation. We're also partnering with organizations who believe in the project and who can contribute to its success.
I don’t play an instrument, but I’d still like to be involved. How can I help?
Thank you for your interest! You can certainly help this project by encouraging participation in your school, or community or among your friends. We would love for you to email your friends and post to blogs and social networks about the competition. We also hope you’ll return frequently to YouTube to view video submissions for the project and, most importantly, to vote for your favorite musicians and favorite improvisation videos that you would like to be included in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra during the final stage of the audition process.
Classical/Orchestra Audition Video Questions
What am I supposed to do for the orchestra audition video?
The classical audition video is your chance to be considered to perform as part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 at the live event (tentatively scheduled to take place at the Sydney Opera House on March 20th, 2011). Your goal should be to show our judges and YouTube viewers your musical ability. You can get started on the channel by selecting the instrument you play. The pieces you need to play for the audition will be listed as well as the actual sheet music. You must select your performance from these pieces. Practice, and when you’re ready, record your performance, upload and submit your video. Please remember that only pieces from the official list are allowed for the audition video and only the first 5 minutes of any submission will be considered!
What if my instrument isn’t on the list of recommended pieces for the Classical Audition video?
For the audition to play in the orchestra you must audition on one of the instruments on our list. For the solo improvisation video (see information in the next section), you can play any instrument you want.
May I edit the audio by putting different pieces together?
We prefer that you record each piece of music in one take instead of editing; it will make it much easier to get a sense of how you perform and how you’ll sound in a larger group. Editing a video from several takes may result in a lower score from the judges.
Does the video have to show me playing my instrument throughout?
This project is about musical ability. Accordingly, we really want to see your musical performance, not your commentary.
May I submit more than one classical audition video?
While you may record and upload as many videos to your YouTube account as you like, we will only consider the first video you submit on the YouTube Symphony Orchestra Channel as your classical audition to join the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 in Sydney.
Will I still own the rights to my videos after I upload them to YouTube?
What is the deadline for submitting my videos?
The deadline is 11:59:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on November 28, 2010. Get started now!
If I miss the November 28 deadline, can I still submit videos after that date?
You’re certainly welcome to upload your videos to YouTube. However, we can only consider videos received by YouTube prior to 11:59:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on November 28th 2010 for the chance to perform as part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.
Solo Improvisation Video Questions
What am I supposed to do for the solo improvisation video?
The solo improvisation video is your chance to be considered to play as an invited soloist with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 at the event, (tentatively scheduled to take place at the Sydney Opera House on March 20th, 2011) or maybe through live streaming into the event. We’re hoping to invite two improvisers to come to the event in person and another two to participate in the event remotely. Your goal should be to show our judges and the YouTube community your raw musical talent. Listen to Mason Bates’s piece and the sample improvisations on the channel for inspiration. When you’re ready, record your performance, upload and submit your video. Remember, this is a solo performance, and your performance must be original!
Why are there two different improvisation sections within the Mason Bates music piece?
The two different sections are slightly different so that you can choose whichever one is more suited to your style and instrument.
Can I submit more than one solo improvisation video?
While you may record and upload as many videos to your YouTube account as you like, but we will only consider the first video you submit on the YouTube Symphony Orchestra Channel as your audition to improvise with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011.
Can I play any instrument in the solo improvisation video?
Yes! We want you to be creative and express yourself and have fun! Please be original and avoid playing known musical pieces (which may protected under copyright and thus not qualify as a entry).
Do I have to play a traditional instrument? May I sing or rap instead of playing an instrument?
You are welcome to upload videos of you playing any instrument, from the erhu to wine glasses, and you can sing or rap....we encourage diversity and creativity in the solo improvisation video
May I audition in a group?
Unfortunately, no – so we can assess performances properly, we need to see you performing solo. But we hope you’ll encourage your friends to separately submit videos as well. In your comments you can link your videos with your friends, so people can check out what you’re all doing.
Should I have one of the improvisation backing videos on when I’m recording?
Yes, that’s the best way to make sure you keep in time. If you haven’t done so before, this might also help you develop a sense of how it feels to play with a live orchestra.
What is the deadline for submitting my video performance?
The deadline is 11:59:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on November 28, 2010. Get started now!
Help! I’m having technical problems. What should I do?
Well, you can start by looking in the YouTube’s Help Center
which has lots of helpful info about all kinds of problems.
Is there a special format (avi, mp4, etc.) in which I should record my videos?
No, there isn’t; YouTube supports many different formats. You can learn more in the YouTube Help Center
I don’t know how to record myself. Can someone help me?
Maybe you can ask one of your friends to help you record your audition. You can probably also find more valuable assistance in the YouTube Help Center
How will the selection process for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra work?
Eligible entries will be scored by the Competition Administrator, Marden Kane, Inc., based on criteria set out in the Official Rules, and top scoring entries will be passed to international expert judging panel consisting of representatives from leading orchestras around the world and other musical experts and organizations. This panel will then review the entries based on the criteria as outlined in the Official Rules and select a number of entries to be voted on by the YouTube community. The YouTube community will then vote for its favorites from this selection. This will inform the final decision of who will win a chance to perform in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra which rests with the artistic director of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas. The voting period is tentatively planned to be from December 10th to December 17th 2010 on the YouTube Symphony Orchestra Channel, but is subject to change (check the official channel for any changes).
How will the solo improvisers be chosen?
The solo improvisers will be chosen in a similar manner to the orchestra members. The Competition Administrator, Marden Kane, Inc., will score the improvisations, which will then be passed on to an invited panel of musical experts who will review the entries and chose a selection to be voted on by the YouTube community. The community will vote for its favorites, which will then be reviewed by Mason Bates, who will make the final decision of which two improvisers will be invited to Sydney to perform and which two may be streamed live to the performance remotely.
How many potential finalists will there be in the YouTube voting stage?
It depends on the number and standard of eligible of entries we receive; we are expecting to put approximately 300 classical audition videos to the public vote by the YouTube community for the up to ninety six places in the orchestra. For the improvisation videos, we plan to put up to approximately one hundred (100) submissions to the public vote by the YouTube community for the up to four musical improvisers. We may also identify additional entries, both from the audition videos and the improvisation videos, to be participants in the live event, but as soloists rather than as members of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. YouTube reserves the right to adjust these numbers.
When will I find out if I’m a potential finalist? When will I find out if I'm a winner who has been chosen for the orchestra?
The deadline for video submissions is 11:59:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on November 28, 2010.
If you are a potential finalist then we will notify you via your YouTube user account (the YouTube messaging system), and ask you to execute some additional documents and releases (for more information, see rule 8 of the official rules). These have to be fully executed and returned to us by December 9th, 2010 for you to be considered a potential finalist. Failure to respond to us or complete and return the documents will result in no further consideration of you for the competition. On or about December 10th, the judges will publicly announce the finalists and invite YouTube users to vote for their favorites. Public voting will end on or about December 17th, 2010 and you will be notified via your YouTube user account in early January 2011 if you are a winner and you have won the chance to perform in the orchestra or as a soloist at the live event.
How does the public voting work?
Users can view the videos and vote either thumbs up or thumbs down using the creative criteria outlined in the Official Rules. Each user can vote a maximum of once per video, per category, per day during the user voting period. Michael Tilson Thomas and Mason Bates, for the orchestra auditions and solo improvisations respectively, will then review the potential finalists against the criteria which are set out in rule 7 of the Official Rules, and select the winners, taking into consideration which entries received the most votes.
If I’m selected as a potential finalist, what do I need to do?
First of all, congratulations! We’ll get in touch with you via the YouTube message service with specific instructions and details. More information on the documentation we will require you to complete can be found in sections 8 and 11 of the official rules. Your video will then be shown on the channel between approximately December 10th and December 17t, h when the public vote on their favorite potential finalists.
How many people will be chosen for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra?
It depends on the number and the quality of the entries, but we are hoping to invite about 96 musicians to join the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, along with a selection of soloists. The final number is in YouTube's discretion.
How many people will be chosen as solo improvisors?
Again, it depends on the number and the quality of the entries, but we are hoping to invite four improvisors to perform as soloists with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, two live in Sydney and two streamed in remotely. The final number is in YouTube's discretion.
Who can participate in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at the live event?
Some basic eligibilty requirements include you have to be older than 14 as of October 12, 2010, and if you are under 18 years old as of that date, you have to have your parental or legal guardian's consent to enter. The Competition is not open to residents of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan,
Myanmar/Burma, Syria, Zimbabwe and any other U.S. sanctioned country. The selected winners who will be invited to participate in the live event will have submitted videos which fulfill all requirements of the Official Rules, and will be required to complete additional documentation and releases. Please review the Official Rules carefully to ensure you are eligible!
I’ve been selected for the chance to perform as part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House. What do I have to do now?
Congratulations, you’ve made it! Keep practicing and relax; we’ll contact you to let you know what the next steps are.
Even if I don’t get selected to perform, can I come to the concert?
Of course; you’re welcome to come and to bring your friends. However, this will be a ticket-only event, so no-one will be granted entry without a ticket. Watch for details about tickets via www.YouTube.com/Symphony and www.SydneyOperaHouse.com.
If I am chosen to take part in the live event, do I need to make my own travel and hotel arrangements?
We’ll take care of and pay for the arrangements to get you to Sydney for the live event from a localized country. Those countries currently include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, New Zealand, Spain, The Netherlands, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the USA. if you are not traveling from a localized country, you must first get yourself to a localized country at your own cost and expense. If you are a minor and require a parent or a guardian to accompany you, then we will also take care of and pay for the arrangements for one parent or a guardian, subject to the localization requirements. You will need to arrange your own visa and/or other travel document(s) where needed. More details about the things you need to be responsible for can be found in Rule 11 of the official rules.
If I’m selected as a winner, how can I get in touch with other musicians who are selected to play in the live event?
We’ll be putting together a contact list of all participants in the live event. We’ll give you the opportunity to indicate whether you would like to be included in this as part of the standard documentation we require you to sign to participate.
I wasn’t chosen to play at the live event. Is there any chance that my video will be shown at the event anyway?
Yes, there is. We will be showing a selection of videos during the live event, and even if you do not win the chance to perform at the live event, your video may appear at the live event, promotions related to the event, or in the media created as a result of the event.
NOTE: THESE FAQS ARE PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL
PURPOSES ONLY, AND DO NOT CONSTITUTE THE OFFICIAL RULES OF THE CONTEST
IN ANY MANNER. IN THE EVENT OF ANY CONFLICT BETWEEN THESE FAQS, ANY
INFORMATION ON THE CHANNEL, OR OTHER DESCRIPTIONS OF THIS CONTEST AND
THE OFFICIAL RULES, THE TERMS OF THE OFFICIAL RULES SHALL CONTROL IN ALL
INSTANCES. REVIEW THE OFFICIAL RULES CAREFULLY!