YouTube Symphony to serenade Sydney

The Sydney Opera House will be awash with colour and sound as Sydney hosts the international YouTube Symphony Orchestra next week.

The Sydney Opera House will be awash with colour and sound as Sydney hosts the international YouTube Symphony Orchestra next week.

Only the second city to do so, Sydney will host four Australians along with the 101 musicians from 33 countries who have been selected to form the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011. All will be flown in to participate in a week-long festival of music, creativity and technology, packed with street performances,  concerts and other activities.

Sydney will be the second city ever to host the international YouTube Symphony event, taking place this weekend at the Opera House

The event finishes with a finale performance at Sydney Opera House on Sunday 20 March that will be streamed live on YouTube and on Mobile devices.

The Grand Finale will also come to life through dynamic imagery and real-time performances projected onto the sails of Sydney Opera House. All are invited to Dawes Point to experience this extraordinary event featuring what Sydney Opera House CEO Richard Evans promises to be “the most ambitious and breathtaking projections we’ve ever seen on the house.”

“Applicants for this year’s YouTube Symphony Orchestra have been truly outstanding,” says Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor and artistic advisor. “It has been inspiring to listen to such excellent music-making by people from all over the world, and to see the great reaction from the online community to the auditions. I am looking forward to getting together with everybody in March and creating a fine orchestra.”

Applicants for the orchestra posted their auditions on YouTube. A panel of international musical experts selected more than 300 finalists from 46 countries based on skill and technique. Nine orchestras around the world participated in the judging, including London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and Sydney Symphony.

During a week of online voting in December, the YouTube community gave their input on the finalists. Online votes were then taken into consideration by Tilson Thomas in selecting the final orchestra.

The 97 members and four soloists who make up the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 include amateur and professional musicians, students and teachers and some who have never set foot out of their home country.

The four Australians who will play in the 20 March concert are violinist Rollin Zhao (Qld), cellist Mathisha Panagoda (NSW), timpani player Brent Miller (Qld), and electric double bass player John Burgess (ACT). Burgess will be one of four soloists at who will perform an improvisation of a work specially created for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 by American composer Mason Bates.


Click above to meet some of the performers heading to Sydney for this unique event.

YouTube Symphony Orchestra is one of several collaborative efforts by YouTube to push the boundaries of music, art, and film. Along with the film project, Life in a Day, and YouTube Play – a collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum – YouTube Symphony Orchestra is an example of the convergence of online video with more traditional art forms.

The first YouTube Symphony Orchestra performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall in April 2009.

YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 is a partnership with London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Sydney Symphony, and other leading institutions of the classical music world.

The event is presented by Hyundai and supported by Tourism Australia and Qantas. 


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