YouTube Orchestra Makes Strong, if Not Subtle, Debut

Symphony orchestra was selected by YouTube viewers voting on clips
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2009 9:24 AM CDT

YouTube's "crowdsourced" symphony orchestra made its debut at Carnegie Hall last night. Its 90-plus members played like "a finely tuned instrument," a BBC reviewer found, despite the fact that they had only met in person a couple of days earlier. The musicians, from 30 countries, were picked by a vote of YouTube viewers from 2,000 who sent in clips.

New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini was similarly impressed; while he wished the program of 15 excerpts had been "less gimmicky," he expressed hope that the orchestra will become permanent, with Google and YouTube funding. "We're meeting a lot of different worlds, the real-time world, the online world, and the experience of getting acquainted," conductor Michael Tilson Thomas said before the performance. "For us it's been something between a classical music summit conference" and a "scout jamboree combined with speed dating." (More YouTube stories.)

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