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YouTube musicians tune up

THE auditions are over. The first YouTube Symphony Orchestra - selected by viewers of the Website - will consist of more than 90 musicians from some 30 countries.

More than 3,000 videos were submitted by amateur and professional musicians from 70-plus countries and regions. Musicians from professional orchestras including the London and San Francisco symphonies and the Berlin, Hong Kong and New York philharmonic orchestras picked 200 finalists. The winners were then selected by voters on YouTube.

"We are excited about the talent, variety and adventurousness of the musicians who are coming together from around the world to form the YouTube Symphony Orchestra," conductor Michael Tilson Thomas said. "I am looking forward to our exploration of the incredible range of classical music's 1,200-year-old tradition which we will present in a unique way to our audience."

The orchestra will have 26 different instruments. The selected musicians, ranging from ages 17 to 55, will participate in three days of master classes and rehearsals next month, culminating in an April 15 concert at Carnegie Hall conducted by Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony's music director.

They will perform composer Tan Dun's "Internet Symphony No. 1, Eroica," a piece specially arranged for the occasion. The result will be posted on on April 16. Details can be found at

Among those selected was Calvin Lee, a 37-year-old surgeon from Modesto, California.

"The strings on my violin were 15 years old when I first learned of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra and that's when I realized it was time to get my violin out of the closet," Lee said. "Since then I've been practicing, playing and thoroughly enjoying meeting other passionate musicians from across the globe."


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