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YouTube Symphony

YouTube announces “YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011” to be held at Sydney Opera House

? YouTube calls on musicians from Australia and around the world to audition for the chance to play to a global audience at Sydney Opera House on March 20, 2011 - live streamed globally
? Builds on the success of the inaugural YouTube Symphony Orchestra that brought together more than 90 musicians from 30 countries to play a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall in April, 2009; introduces new improvisation element for any instrument
? Launch event features performances by YouTube-discovered classical pop group Aston; Sydney Symphony; and famed didgeridoo player William Barton

Sydney, AUSTRALIA – October 13, 2010 – YouTube™ today announced a collaboration with Sydney Opera House, Grammy Award-winning conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and many other leading institutions and figures of the classical music world including Sydney Symphony, to launch "YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011" (, a global online audition for a collaborative orchestra where amateur musicians can share their knowledge and experience of making music with the support of some of world’s leading classical artists.  Musicians selected for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 will be invited to a week of rehearsals and master classes at an orchestra and summit at Sydney Opera House in March, 2011, culminating in a performance conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.

The online audition period for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 opens October 13, 2010, and auditions to take part extend through November 28, 2010. To be considered, musicians from around the world are invited to upload audition videos of designated pieces to demonstrate their musical and technical abilities. New this year, a second search for solo improvisers extends the audition process beyond traditional classical instruments and invites further online collaboration. For the solo improviser audition, musicians of any instrument may submit an original improvisation based on the new, composition “Mothership” from American composer Mason Bates for the opportunity to play their own solo during the final performance.  At Sydney Opera House today, famed didgeridoo player William Barton played an improvisation along to “Mothership”, demonstrating to potential orchestra members how they might tackle the challenge.

An expert panel from leading orchestras around the world will narrow entries down to the semifinalists in both audition categories. The YouTube community will be invited to vote online on the semifinalists from December 10, 2010 through December 17, 2010. Musicians who are selected from this semifinalist group will be announced on YouTube on January 11, 2011. For official rules of entry and FAQ, consult the YouTube Symphony Orchestra Channel (

In March 2011, selected musicians will be flown to the iconic setting of Sydney Opera House to participate in a week-long classical music summit with leading performers in the field, culminating in a final performance on March 20, 2011, which will be live-streamed on YouTube. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 will further focus on celebrating musical education, from offering online master classes with orchestras around the world, to classes for Australian musicians during our summit week in March. YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 is presented by Hyundai.

Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor and artistic adviser
“We’re exploring how classical music’s 1200 year long tradition can enter the realm of high technology and what that will mean for its mission and legacy. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall was a first step in that process. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 at Sydney Opera House will be the next step as we seek to expand beyond the rehearsal room, beyond the concert hall and connect with a global audience.”

Lee Hunter, YouTube
“We have a real sense of excitement that the YouTube Symphony Orchestra is living on.  This is a magical way to connect and inspire people.  Last year we helped fundamentally challenge the norms of an entire industry, and provided a digital meeting place for classical musicians right around the world.  In 2011 we want to see how the vibrant online music community, classical and otherwise, collaborates to create something truly special through this project.”

Richard Evans, CEO, Sydney Opera House
“Just as Michael Tilson Thomas talks about expanding beyond the rehearsal room and beyond the concert hall, so Sydney Opera House is committed to presenting our unique experiences and venues beyond our physical site.  By hosting the YouTube Symphony Orchestra in 2011 we are moving offsite and online to access musicians around the world while simultaneously giving the global YouTube community the opportunity to directly input into this explosion of creativity and its ongoing legacy.”

Rory Jeffes, Managing Director, Sydney Symphony
“The Sydney Symphony is committed to ensuring that everyone around the world has an opportunity to experience the power of an orchestral concert – whether as a musician or audience member – and with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, we can make this happen. We are thrilled to be once again involved in this ground-breaking initiative and flying the flag for Australia as we collaborate with other world-leading orchestras to bring this project to fruition.”

Andrew McEvoy, Managing Director, Tourism Australia
“We are delighted to be supporting YouTube in this exciting initiative. Tourism Australia is leading the way in digital marketing to promote Australia around the world as a travel destination. This partnership with YouTube offers an opportunity to further expand Tourism Australia’s presence online to show the world why there’s nothing like Australia.”


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

About Sydney Opera House
In giving the world one of the 20th century’s greatest buildings, Jørn Utzon changed the creative and cultural landscape of Australia forever. Sydney Opera House is committed to continuing the legacy of Utzon’s creative genius by creating, producing and presenting the most acclaimed, imaginative and engaging performing arts experiences from Australia and around the world - onsite, offsite and online. As the creative and cultural flagship of Australia, Sydney Opera House is the place where imagination takes you.

Editor’s note: A press site with images and more background information is available HERE


Media Contact:
Steven Reilly, Sydney Opera House
02 9250 7411 /


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