I’m a little late to this party, because apparently the YouTube Symphony Orchestra debuts today at Carnegie Hall, and I’ve missed all the wind-up. It’s an amazing accomplishment of the Internet age, one of those things that justifies all the zany, brainless things the Internet is used for otherwise. Let me see if I understand what’s going on here:
1. YouTube and the London Symphony join forces on a project to “create the world’s first collaborative orchestra” and to demonstrate “the power of music as a shared global language.”
2. Then composer Tan Dun pens his peppy Internet Symphony exclusively for this project. YouTube posts a video of a conductor (I believe it’s Tan) conducting the movement called “Eroica” so collaborators can follow the correct tempo and pitch.
3. People from all over the world go ape submitting videos of themselves performing the piece — every part, on every instrument imagineable. You Tube throws them all together in a glorious mash-up video. Seriously, I think I see one woman playing the singing saw. Another guy looks to be playing mixing bowls. (I love this video, by the way. First of all it’s a brilliant editing job to make so many, many, many of the contest entrants a part of the final product. Also, the sight of all these earnest musicians on their grainy little videos performing their hearts out in their family rooms and bedroom sound studios … well, enthusiasm is addictive, and I find it inspiring. )
4. YouTube members vote on their favorite audition videos. (Looks like the videos got weeded first, thankfully, before viable candidates could be voted on.)
5. Which brings us to today: Winners gather together in New York to perform at Carnegie Hall.
What a magnificent use of technology. Creation is often an ivory-tower exercise, and performance the domain of a select few. This project opens up possibilities for so many people to be a part of the process, even the ones who don’t perform on stage today.
Congrats, YouTube. I just thought you were a respository for Mentos/Diet Coke videos, but you really proved me wrong today.