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Google Reveals Its 2011 YouTube Symphony Orchestra, Vuvuzela's Included


A team of a hundred and one musical souls from 30 nations are soon to be performing together at the Sydney Opera House. It's the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011—and it has vuvuzelas in it.

Orchestras all around the world, including big names like the London Symphony and Berliner Philharmoniker, spent time last month selecting over 300 finalists from a huge slew of auditioned applicants to Google's prestigious musical extravaganza. These people were subject to a public vote, and that's how Google narrowed it down to just 101 people from five different continents.

Three of these people are singled out in Google's blog post about the news: A vuvuzela-playing German trombonist, a clarinetist from Arizona who's never left the U.S. and a Chinese Guzheng player—an instrument that "a lot of the world has never seen or heard before."

The culmination of the effort, after rehearsals in Australia from March 14th on, is a concert in the world-famous Sydney Opera House on March 20th. It'll be live-streamed across the planet, and the Symphony Orchestra channel will also host a bunch of extra footage, including behind the scenes clips.

If you think this is slightly odd behavior for Google, then check this out: Begun in 2008 the YTSO is the first ever online collaborative orchestra (of a real orchestral size, anyway). The first concert in 2009 was held in the Carnegie Hall in New York city, and by the time the concert was due over 15 million people had watched the audition clips on YouTube. As well as engaging many curious music lovers around the world, the YTSO is a neat (and relatively inexpensive) way for Google to get its brand referred to online and in traditional broadcasting systems—the media being keen to latch onto the notion of high-tech Google actually being cultured.

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.