YouTube Goes Classic With Global Collaborative Symphony Program

YouTube sure has come a long way since launching in 2005 and being acquired by Google within a year for $1.65 billion. The company has today announced a collaborative project with a bunch of classical music institutions and artists in the context of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra program, and I think it’s awesome.

Starting today until January 28, 2009, musicians are invited to submit two videos: a personal interpretation of an original Tan Dun composition, written specifically for this program, and a talent video designed to demonstrate their musical and technical abilities. The semi-finalists will be selected by an impressive panel made up of members from the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and other orchestras from around the globe.

Of course, the YouTube community gets to have their say as well; users will be invited to vote on the semifinalists from February 14, 2009 through February 22, 2009.

In April 2009, YouTube will follow up by co-hosting a three-day classical music summit featuring the finalists and classical music stars and orchestras at Carnegie Hall. Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony, will be conducting.

I’m particularly looking forward to the mashup video of ‘memorable entrants combined into one ensemble piece’ that will be distributed worldwide after the event.

I think this is a great way to push the boundaries of what has been done to date to marry classical music with modern technology, and give the world’s most talented musicians an opportunity to showcase their skills to a potentially massive audience.

Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, put it like this:

For musicians of all ages, nationalities, and instruments, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra provides a unique opportunity not only to perform on the world’s most famous stage – Carnegie Hall – but also on its largest stage — YouTube.