The orchestra was comprised of professional and amateur musicians of all ages. They auditioned for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra by submitting a video performance of a new piece written for the occasion by the renowned Chinese composer Tan Dun. Finalists were selected by a judging panel comprised of the world's most renowned orchestra players, including Zildjian Artist Neil Percy of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Winners were announced on March 2nd and invited to travel to New York in April 2009, to participate in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra summit, and performed at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.
Owain Williams, percussionist with the orchestra, visited the Zildjian factory before the first rehearsal to chose cymbals for the percussion section. He chose a wide variety of instruments from the K. Constantinople, K. Symphonic and Classic Orchestral line of cymbals.
The YouTube Symphony Orchestra's concert featured soloists, chamber groups, chamber orchestra, large orchestra, electronica and multi-media, and samples diverse periods and styles of classical music, including works by Gabrieli, Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Villa-Lobos, John Cage and Tan Dunn's Internet Symphony No. 1
"It could be described as something between a summit conference, scout jamboree or musical get-together. It'll be the first time that people from so many different countries will have had a chance to discover one another online and then actually meet up and make music together."
- Michael Tilson Thomas on NPR's All Things Considered
YouTube Symphony Orchestra Program
BRAHMS Allegro giocoso from Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
LOU HARRISON Music from Canticle No. 3
DVORAK Music from Serenade in D Minor, Op. 44
GABRIELI Canzon septimi toni No. 2
BACH Sarabande from Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007
VILLA-LOBOS Bachiana brasileira No. 9
RACHMANINOFF Waltz in A Major from Two Pieces, Six Hands
WAGNER The Ride of the Valkyries from Die WalkkkkkkkkkÃre
TAN DUN Internet Symphony No. 1, "Eroica"
PROKOFIEV Scherzo from Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV "Flight of the Bumblebee" (arr. Rachmaninoff)
DEBUSSY Nuages from Nocturnes
MOZART Rondo - Tempo di Minuetto from Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219, "Turkish"
BRITTEN Hunt the Squirrel from Suite on English Folk Tunes: 'A time there was', Op. 90
CAGE Aria for solo voice with Renga
MASON BATES Warehouse Medicine from B-Sides
TCHAIKOVSKY Finale from Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
BERLIOZ Hungarian March from La damnation de Faust