From home computer to Carnegie Hall, a Wednesday night performance capped off YouTube’s first experiment with its online collaborative orchestra. The 96 winning musicians who took the stage represented the culmination of a months-long process that began with one simple act: the click of a “submit” button. More than 3,000 audition videos were submitted to the video-sharing site and the 96 players who made it to Carnegie Hall represented the cream of the crop. Out of the entire pool of audition videos, finalists in each instrument were selected by classical music experts from all over the world. YouTube users then voted on their favorites.
The musicians — from 29 countries in all — are beginning to stream home now after spending three days rehearsing with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (music director of the San Francisco Symphony) and playing the big finale. Cello player George Durham described the event as the best orchestra experience he’s ever had. “The last three days in New York City have been completely overwhelming,” Durham told Art Beat. “It’s been like a reality TV show. There’s been a documentary crew following us around, interviews with the Wall Street Journal, CNN. After the concert last night people were asking to take pictures with me. It’s been surreal.”