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Musicians From Thirty Countries and Territories To Comprise YouTube Symphony Orchestra

YouTube Symphony Orchestra Will Meet in New York and Perform in Carnegie Hall with Michael Tilson Thomas on April 15, 2009
2 winners from UK to perform at Carnegie Hall

3 March 2009, London – YouTube™ announced today the members of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, the world’s first orchestra selected entirely through auditions on-line: including 2 winners based in UK. The musicians will travel from thirty countries and territories around the world to New York City to participate in a classical music summit on April 12-15, concluding with a concert at Carnegie Hall under the direction of the San Francisco Symphony Music Director, New World Symphony Founder and Artistic Director, and London Symphony Orchestra Principal Guest Conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas.

The global YouTube community and Michael Tilson Thomas have selected more than ninety musicians playing 26 different instruments from a group of two hundred finalists. The musicians will travel to New York from thirty different countries and territories: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Since the launch of this initiative in December 2008, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra’s channel (www.youtube.com/symphony) has received more than 13 million views worldwide with visitors from more than two hundred countries and territories. More than three thousand 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 seventy countries and territories on six continents.

After a preliminary screening by musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, among others, the videos of two hundred finalists were collected and posted on the YouTube Symphony Orchestra channel on February 14, 2009. These finalists ranged in age from 15 to 55. The YouTube community voted for their favorites and, as the project’s Artistic Advisor and Conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas reviewed the finalists to create the orchestra that will perform the program at Carnegie Hall on April 15, 2009.

“It has been a remarkably exciting process reviewing the many contributions from around the world. It’s been a real window on the lives of music lovers everywhere who have auditioned in their dorms, practice rooms, on stages of neo-classical theaters, apartment house lobbies, on gorgeous Italian fiddles and old upright pianos,” said Mr. Tilson Thomas. “All of them have played with great heart and devotion. I want to thank the participating orchestras and the whole YouTube community for all their help selecting the finalists. I am so looking forward to meeting everyone in person in New York in April.”

“From the undiscovered cellist to the professionally-trained bassoonist, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra is a real-life example of how people can use online video to share their talents with the world. Performers captured the attention of both renowned classical musicians and the YouTube community,” said Ed Sanders, YouTube Product Marketing Manager. “We can’t wait to see what happens when these musicians come together for the first time at Carnegie Hall.”

“It’s been a privilege to help so many talented people from such diverse backgrounds come together. The enthusiasm and commitment with which they have engaged with the project and each other is astonishing,” said Chaz Jenkins, Head of LSO Live, London Symphony Orchestra. “Performing and connecting with an audience is the ultimate goal for any musician and those who have taken part will have benefited from that experience in a way and on a scale that would have been unimaginable to musicians just a few years ago.”

Musicians such as Chinese pianist Lang Lang, the first YouTube Symphony Orchestra Global Ambassador, and founding composer Tan Dun, creator of Internet Symphony No. 1, Eroica, a piece specially arranged for this occasion, have endorsed the project and encouraged participation.

The talented musicians will participate in Master Classes with world-class musicians, rehearse together, and share in each other’s diverse experiences and backgrounds.

“The strings on my violin were 15 years old when I first learned of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra and that’s when I realized it was time to get my violin out of the closet,” said California surgeon Calvin Lee. “Since then I’ve been practicing, playing and thoroughly enjoying meeting other passionate musicians from across the globe through the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.”

UK winner Owain Williams said, “This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of it. I’d like to acknowledge the help and support from my teachers at Royal College of Music and I am looking forward to the privilege of playing at Carnegie Hall.”

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra marks the first program on YouTube to welcome submissions from nearly every country in the world, and the channel is available in 16 different languages. YouTube has partnered with more than forty major classical music organizations and institutions to bring this initiative to musicians around the world.

Program details and guest soloists will be announced shortly. Tickets are on-sale now through Carnegie Charge at +1 (212) 247-7800 at www.carnegiehall.org.

View all the winners’ videos at www.youtube.com/symphony.

Press contact: 0207 031 3130 press-uk@google.com