From YouTube to Carnegie Hall

BY Arts Desk  February 17, 2009 at 12:44 PM EDT

Say you’re an awesome cymbal player and you have a Web cam. Or maybe marimba is your thing. You catch wind of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra project, read the rules and upload a video of yourself playing a section of ‘Internet Symphony No. 1: Eroica,’ a piece written specifically for the project by Tan Dun, the Chinese composer who also wrote the score for ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.’ Depending on your instrument — anything from violin to tuba, cello to piccolo (26 in all) — you are one of thousands, or hundreds, or dozens, vying for the chance to be a part of “the world’s first collaborative orchestra.”

The project is global in scope, having received more than 3,000 audition videos from more than 70 countries, according to a YouTube representative. The ultimate prize is a visit to New York City for an April 15 performance at Carnegie Hall under the direction of acclaimed conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

“YouTube is a perfect platform for artistic collaboration,” said YouTube spokeswoman Lucinda Barlow. “This is the first example of users and artists coming online and collaborating on a project. We hope there will be more of these projects to come in the future.”

If you’re talented — and lucky — you’ve made it this far. Experts from leading orchestras around the world have already whittled down the pool of aspiring symphonists, and only 200 remain. Until Feb. 22, your dreams of playing at Carnegie Hall are in the hands of YouTube users and the Internet-browsing public. It’s now their time to vote. Just visit the YouTube Symphony Orchestra homepage and click the “Vote” button. From there you can view the finalists for each instrument. Winners will be announced March 2.

At this point, one thing seems to be for sure: This Spanish guitarist — the sole finalist in the “Other” category—will be in New York in April.