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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

YouTube Symphony Orchestra

Getting to Carnegie via YouTube details how Google is utilizing YouTube to hold auditions for two events. The first event is a "YouTube Symphony Orchestra" (the world's first collaborative online orchestra) recording of a new piece by composer Tan Dun: Internet Symphony No. 1 - Eroica. Winning individual auditions will be blended into an online symphony, the first of its kind. Secondly, musicians can audition for a real live gathering of selected applicants to perform the symphony in Carnegie Hall under conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

You can listen to the London Symphony performing the symphony here. It is both beautiful and interesting. (Note the use of familiar themes from Beethoven's Eroica Symphony seamlessly combined with street-style percussion and modern-day tonalities.)

The deadline for submitting a YouTube video is January 28th, 2009. The Carnegie Hall Performance is April 15, 2009. Musicians interested in participating must be unbound by any contracts that would limit their ability to participate, which I would imagine rules out most orchestral musicians in large symphony orchestras, so this project has the interesting potential to draw on talent without becoming an amalgamation of today's already-successful orchestral musicians. (Not that already-successful orchestral musicians would be inclined to enter, anyway.)

Lang Lang even weighs in on the uniqueness of this opportunity and encourages musicians to get involved. As a young musician, he understands the communication platform YouTube represents in today's world in a way that many of his older counterparts do not, not only in vague terms of a "global conversation," but also in concrete terms: the benefit of having performances by great artists at your fingertips at home, for example. (Did you know members of the London Symphony Orchestra offer YouTube Masterclass videos?)

Wow, Internet! What will you think of next? Soon the answer to the old joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" will no longer be "Practice, practice, practice!" but "Practice, Login, Upload!"

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