YouTube spotlights classical musicians with 'Internet symphony'

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice ... upload?

A contest announced Monday in New York and London invites musicians to record audition videos of themselves and upload them to video-sharing site YouTube for a chance to be a part of what's being billed as "the world's first collaborative online orchestra."

Composer Tan Dun, of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" fame, has composed a piece called "The Internet Symphony" specifically for the contest. Prospective players will download sheet music, practice and record their individual parts, and upload them to the site. Then, they'll record a solo of their choosing from a list of suggested pieces.

Players' videos will be reviewed by professionals from the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic – and then, in true American Idol fashion, the greater YouTube community. The winners will be invited to New York in April for a three-day music conference and a performance at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York. Then their videos will be brought together in a mash-up for YouTube.

Preparation for the online audition ultimately rests with each individual musician, but Google and its partners have given prospective players a leg-up with a number of practice aids.

A tuba player in another lifetime, I sampled a video master class with LSO tuba player Patrick Harrild that identified some of the sticking points in the piece. Then, there's a recording of Mr. Dun discussing his inspiration for the piece, and a customized video of him conducting it and giving cues for the different instrument parts.

Bedroom Beethovens should get cracking: entries can be submitted at through January 28, and the winners will be announced March 3.

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