YouTube Symphony Orchestra

Last updated

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra(YTSO) is an orchestra assembled by open auditions hosted by YouTube, the London Symphony Orchestra and several other worldwide partners. Launched on December 1, 2008, [1] it is the first-ever online collaborative orchestra.



The open call for entries was until January 28, 2009. Musicians wishing to audition had to post a video of themselves playing the "Internet Symphony No. 1 'Eroica'", by Tan Dun, along with a second talent video of themselves playing a preset audition piece to YouTube. Musicians of all cultures were encouraged to audition, as even if a particular instrument was not specifically scored in the original score, a musician was allowed to simply play a part in the same pitch range as their chosen instrument. Judges selected finalists and alternates was from January 29 to February 13, 2009 and the finalists were voted on by the YouTube community from February 14 to February 22, 2009. [2]

Winners were announced on March 2, [2] and were invited to travel to New York in April 2009, to participate in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra summit, and play at Carnegie Hall [3] under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. [1] As of the concert date, there were 15 million views of the YouTube audition tapes. [4] The concert featured a series of short pieces that had been rehearsed for several days, as well as guest soloists Joshua Roman, Gil Shaham, Measha Brueggergosman, Yuja Wang, and classical / electronica composer Mason Bates. Three children were tutored for the event by pianist Lang Lang and played Rachmaninoff's waltz for piano six hands. [4]

The Tan Dun submissions were compiled into a mashup video premiered at Carnegie Hall on April 15, then hosted on the "YouTube Symphony Channel" as of April 16.


On October 12, 2010, a video posted on the YouTube Symphony channel announced that they would be doing a second symphony, this time performing at the Sydney Opera House on March 20, 2011. [5] Tilson Thomas would again be directing, and had asked Bates to write a piece, entitled Mothership , in which performers would be invited to improvise with the orchestra, both live and via an uplink. [6] A video of the LSO performing Mothership was posted on YouTube on October 11, 2010. [7]

The concert also featured a performance of Mozart's "Caro bell'idol mio" by Renée Fleming and the Sydney Children's Choir.

Like the previous year, contestants were required to record themselves performing the piece on their own instruments. However, since the piece features sections of improvisation, players are also invited to send in clips of themselves improvising. Applications closed on November 28, 2010.

The performance was broadcast live on Sunday 20th March [of 2011] at 8pm Sydney time, [8] with rebroadcasts being done throughout the day for each time zone. The completed performance was uploaded to YouTube at the end of March 20 and can now be viewed on the symphony channel. It was "the most-watched live music concert on the Internet", and "the most frequently viewed concert in the history of the video-sharing website". [9]


As of March 20, 2011, the live feed of the concert was the 21st most viewed event in the Musicians Channel on YouTube. [10] [11] The live stream of the Grand Finale concert at the Sydney Opera House was the largest live stream YouTube ever made, connecting 30.7 million streams on computers and a further 2.8 million streams on mobile devices. The previous leader was U2 live on YouTube.

Related Research Articles

Detroit Symphony Orchestra American orchestra

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is an American orchestra based in Detroit, Michigan. Its main performance center is Orchestra Hall at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood. The DSO performs throughout the metro Detroit area in both paid neighborhood series concerts and free community concerts.

London Symphony Orchestra oldest symphony orchestra in London

The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), founded in 1904, is a British Orchestra and the oldest of London's symphony orchestras. It was set up by a group of players who left Henry Wood's Queen's Hall Orchestra because of a new rule requiring players to give the orchestra their exclusive services. The LSO itself later introduced a similar rule for its members. From the outset the LSO was organised on co-operative lines, with all players sharing the profits at the end of each season. This practice continued for the orchestra's first four decades.

Michael Tilson Thomas American conductor, pianist and composer

Michael Tilson Thomas is an American conductor, pianist and composer. He is currently music director of the San Francisco Symphony and artistic director of the New World Symphony, an American orchestral academy based in Miami Beach, Florida.

Renée Fleming American opera soprano

Renée Lynn Fleming is an American soprano, known for performances in opera, concerts, recordings, theater, film, and at major public occasions. Fleming has a full lyric soprano voice. She has performed coloratura, lyric, and lighter spinto soprano operatic roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English. She has also sung and recorded lieder, chansons, jazz, musical theatre, and indie rock. She speaks fluent German and French, along with limited Italian. Her signature roles include Countess Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, Violetta in Verdi's La traviata, the title role in Dvořák's Rusalka, the title role in Massenet's Manon, the title role in Massenet's Thaïs, the title role in Richard Strauss's Arabella, the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, and the Countess in Capriccio.

Valery Gergiev Russian conductor and opera company director

Valery Abisalovich Gergiev, is a Russian conductor and opera company director of Ossetian origin. He is general director and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic and artistic director of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg.

Jonne Valtonen Finnish composer

Jonne Valtonen is a Finnish composer, arranger and orchestrator. He is renowned for his contributions in the field of demoscene and tracker music, under the name Purple Motion, and with Future Crew.

YouTube Video-sharing service owned by Google

YouTube is an American video-sharing platform headquartered in San Bruno, California. Three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—created the service in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion; YouTube now operates as one of Google's subsidiaries.

London Symphony Chorus London based choir

The London Symphony Chorus is a large symphonic concert choir based in London, UK, consisting of over 150 amateur singers, and is one of the major symphony choruses of the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1966 as the LSO Chorus to complement the work of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). The LSC is today an independent self-run organisation governed by a council of nine elected representatives. It continues to maintain a close association with the LSO but also takes part in projects with other orchestras and organisations both in the UK and abroad. The LSC performs mainly with the LSO at the Barbican Centre in London as well as appearing at other concert venues around the UK and Europe and regularly at the Avery Fisher Hall, New York.

Sir Clive Daniel Gillinson, CBE is a British cellist and arts administrator. He is best known for his long tenure as the Managing Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and his current position as Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall.

Valentina Lisitsa Ukrainian-American classical pianist

Valentina Lisitsa is a Ukrainian-American pianist. She previously resided in North Carolina before moving to Canada, and then to France.

Emily Bear American child composer and pianist

Emily Jordan Bear is an American composer, pianist, songwriter and singer who has received notice at an early age. After beginning to play the piano and compose music as a small child, Bear made her professional piano debut at the Ravinia Festival at the age of five, the youngest performer ever to play there. She gained wider notice from a series of appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show beginning at the age of six. She has since played her own compositions and other works with orchestras and ensembles in North America, Europe and Asia, including appearances at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, the Montreux Jazz Festival and Jazz Open Stuttgart. She has won two Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and was the youngest person ever to win the award. She has also won two Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Awards.

The Internet Symphony No. 1 - "Eroica", is a piece written by the Chinese composer Tan Dun for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. It was the first of such events where musicians around the world play the same piece virtually via the internet, and the best performers selected were arranged into an internet symphony orchestra, featured on YouTube. In addition to submitting a performance of the Internet Symphony No.1 ("Eroica"), musicians were also allowed to submit a video of themselves playing one of the other selected pieces. The best performers were invited to play at New York City's Carnegie Hall on April 15, 2009, with all expenses paid by YouTube. Winners were decided by the most votes cast by YouTube users.

Kseniya Simonova Ukrainian artist

Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian sand animation performance artist who also works in the mediums of graphic design, illustration, as well as cinema and literature. She holds the title of Merited Artist of Ukraine and in 2009 rose to international prominence when after winning the Ukraine’s Got Talent television contest. Her act is the only act who received two Golden Buzzers on two different “The Champions” series of the Got Talent franchise.

Yuja Wang Chinese pianist

Yuja Wang is a Chinese classical pianist. She was born in Beijing, began studying piano there at age six, and went on to study at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. By the age of 21, she was already an internationally recognized concert pianist, giving recitals around the world. She has a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she said: “For me, playing music is about transporting to another way of life, another way of being. An actress does that.” Yuja Wang lives in New York City.

Charlie Albright Pianist and Composer

Charlie Albright is an American-born classical pianist, composer, and improviser. He is an official Steinway Artist, 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant Recipient, 2010 Gilmore Young Artist (2010) and former Young Concert Artist. He graduated from Harvard College (B.A.) and the New England Conservatory (M.M.) as the first classical pianist in the schools' five-year BA/MM Joint Program, was named the Leverett House Artist in Residence for 2011–2012, and was one of the 15 Most Interesting Seniors of the Harvard College Class of 2011. He graduated from the Juilliard School of Music with his post-graduate Artist Diploma (A.D.) in 2014.

Mason W. Bates is a Grammy award-winning American composer of symphonic music and DJ of electronic dance music. He is the first composer-in-residence of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and he has also been in residence with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the California Symphony. In addition to his notable works Mothership, Anthology of Fantastic Zoology, and The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, he composed the score to Gus Van Sant’s film The Sea of Trees.

Peter Seymour is a double bass player and composer who resides in Brooklyn, New York. He is the co-creator, manager and bass player of Project Trio, an internationally touring chamber music ensemble. He has performed in concert halls around the world, including Severance Hall, The Concertgebow, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Seymour is also an active educator. As a member of Project Trio, he organizes and performs in more than 100 school concerts a year.

Mothership is a single-movement composition for orchestra and electronica by the American composer Mason Bates. The piece received its world premiere March 20, 2011 at the Sydney Opera House by the YouTube Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas, with featured improvisatorial soloists Paulo Calligopoulos on electric guitar, Ali Bello on violin, Su Chang on zheng, and John Burgess on bass guitar. The premiere was broadcast live on YouTube and garnered nearly two million viewers.

The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) is the youth orchestra of the Boston Philharmonic and is considered the premier youth orchestra in the Boston area. Created in 2012, the tuition-free orchestra consists of musicians between the ages of 12-21. The BPYO performs an annual concert series in Boston as well as international tours and has released two commercial recordings. The founder and current conductor of the orchestra is Benjamin Zander.

The Lubbock Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is an orchestra based in Lubbock, Texas and is one of the oldest community organizations in the region. The orchestra is composed of professional musicians from all parts of the Lubbock Community. The orchestra currently performs at Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre but will relocate to the Buddy Holly Center for the Performing Arts following the hall's completion. The ensemble is led by David Cho, the orchestra's seventh music director, who has been with the orchestra since 2012. The purpose of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra is to enrich the greater community through symphonic performances and educational experiences.


  1. 1 2 "YouTube announces plans for YouTube Symphony Orchestra". New York Post . April 16, 2009. Retrieved April 15, 2009.
  2. 1 2 Smith, Tim (March 3, 2009). "Peabody cellist joins YouTube Symphony Orchestra". The Baltimore Sun . Retrieved April 15, 2009.
  3. Nichols, Michelle (April 14, 2009). "YouTube orchestra prepares for Carnegie debut". Reuters. Retrieved April 15, 2009.
  4. 1 2 Shawn Smith (April 16, 2009). "15M hits later, YouTube Symphony makes live debut". MLive.
  5. Dorian, John (October 12, 2010). "YouTube announces 'YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011' to be held at Sydney Opera House". International Business Times . Retrieved November 17, 2010.
  6. "Mason Bates: Electronica, Meet Orchestra". NPR. March 11, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  7. "LSO performs 'Mothership' (with example improvisers)". YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011. YouTube. October 11, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  8. "Sneak Peek of the Grand Finale projections: Tune in on Sunday 20th March!" . Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  9. "YouTube Symphony attracts 33 million views worldwide". Limelight. Mar 25, 2011.
  10. "Канал користувача symphony". YouTube . Retrieved 2011-03-20.
  11. Коли: СьогодніСьогодніЦього тижняЦього місяцяЗа весь час. "Канали". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-03-20.