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YouTube Symphony Orchestra auditions highlight amazing talent as well as the udder-ly bizarre

January 11, 2011 |  6:05 pm

When YouTube unveiled the list of winners for its second annual symphony orchestra on Tuesday morning, the results provided a good cross-section of the online video site's evolving audience, with a dash of serendipity thrown in.

Sure, there was the audition from the Jordanian woman who recorded herself playing the cello while sitting on a camel. And a candidate from Illinois played music by blowing on a jar filled with blue liquid that is manipulated using a yellow dish-washing glove, an instrument the candidate invented and called an "udderbot." That was to be expected.

Also to be expected was the unexpected, simply because the Web excels at surfacing surprises. One was Paolo Calligopoulos, a violinist from Sao Paolo, Brazil, who submitted a serious entry, but then tossed in a second video of himself improvising on an electric guitar. It was the second submission that dazzled the judges and won Calligopoulos a solo spot on the orchestra.

But there were also audition videos submitted by hundreds of serious, classically trained musicians, including Sophie Tang, a student at the University of Southern California who gave a spirited performance of Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4 on her violin.

Andrew Chilcote, a student from Irvine studying the bass at the New England Conservatory in Boston, performed a no-frills piece that landed him a spot in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.

You'd think they were trying out for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Alas, they were auditioning for an orchestra that's about as ephemeral as the Web itself. The 101-member orchestra will gather for just one week in March in Sydney, Australia, to practice and then perform a concert on March 20th conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and, of course, streamed live on YouTube.

You can check out other submissions on YouTube's Symphony Orchestra page.

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-- Alex Pham

twitter.com/AlexPham

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