In Tuesday’s (3/22) San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman writes, “To the long and heartening list of ideas that have turned out to be less crackpot than they seemed, I think we can now add the YouTube Symphony, the international pickup band led with casual swagger by Michael Tilson Thomas. … Sunday brought the concluding concert of the orchestra’s second incarnation, an eclectic collection of instrumental and vocal snippets broadcast from the Sydney Opera House—first in a live stream on the orchestra’s video channel ( and thereafter in a repeated loop. … But whereas the inaugural efforts of the YouTube Symphony two years ago struck at least some observers as a gimmick in search of a rationale, the current installment—which boasted a whole new army of orchestral players, recruited by audition from 33 countries on five continents—seemed to be finding its way toward a genuine expression of global connectivity. Also, the music was a lot better this time around. Thomas, serving as a genial ringleader in the way that only he can, led his forces through a string of works both familiar and not. … The upshot was a project that felt more purposeful and perhaps less driven by the imperatives of technological branding than it once had.”

Posted March 22, 2011