Can YouTube help save classical music?

Miami HeraldFebruary 2, 2009 

Milan Curro auditioned for Carnegie Hall from his bed in Milwaukee, wearing a flannel shirt and blue jeans.

With his digital video recorder rolling, the 19-year-old flute player eloquently performed a minute of Brahms' Symphony No. 4 and uploaded the clip onto the Web. Now Curro is waiting to hear from a Miami Beach maestro on whether he'll be picked to join the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.

''I got so excited at the opportunity that I printed out the music, learned it and recorded it all on the same day,'' said Curro, a music-education student on leave from Butler University in Indianapolis.

Thousands of musicians from 40 countries submitted audition videos through Wednesday's deadline, and YouTube users will soon have a chance to vote on their favorites to send to New York for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra's April 15 performance.

The man behind the music: Michael Tilson Thomas, who for decades has steered Miami Beach's New World Symphony through the digital age in his role as artistic director. He will conduct the YouTube Symphony's Carnegie Hall show.

''New World has been the pioneering organization in staking out this new territory, because young musicians are naturally interested in these areas,'' Tilson Thomas said from Los Angeles. ``The YouTube project is an extension of that, a way of bringing together the classical-music community all over the world so we can learn from each other.''

YouTube parent Google and its musical partners -- including the New World Symphony -- hope to broaden classical music's appeal to a younger audience through the YouTube Symphony project.

It's working, according to YouTube statistics. More than half of the millions of people who clicked through YouTube.com/Symphony in the past two months were between 13 and 34. (By comparison, about half of the people who attend classical-music events are older than 55, the League of American Orchestras noted.)

Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com

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