“Before the San Francisco Symphony performs a new program,” writes Juliet Chung in Friday’s (4/10) Wall Street Journal, “Grammy-winning music director Michael Tilson Thomas typically spends his time fine-tuning pieces. But in the run-up to a concert by a new kind of orchestra, Mr. Thomas has been posting brief online tutorials on everything from how to interpret an improvisatory John Cage piece to his preferred phrasing for a Tchaikovsky symphony. It’s an unorthodox lead-in to what is being billed as an equally unorthodox performance: an April 15 concert at Carnegie Hall by an orchestra assembled via the Internet. Called the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, the venture is a promotion by Google to make its video-sharing site an online destination for classical music and creative alliances.” Starting in December, more than 3,000 musicians auditioned by uploading videos to YouTube. After a professional panel selected 200 finalists, YouTube users picked their favorites. “Mr. Thomas helped select the winners in February, viewing the clips from his home in San Francisco. Making decisions was challenging, he says. Normally, ‘You’d say, “Try it this way, or play something that’s in contrast to that,” ’ instead of extrapolating from a fixed performance. … The 96 winners are scheduled to converge on New York on Sunday (Google is paying their airfare and expenses). They range in age from 15 to 55 and hail from 29 different countries or territories.”

Posted April 10, 2009