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Last modified: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Two IU Jacobs students to play in YouTube concert at Carnegie Hall

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Jacobs School of Music flutist Daniel Stein and violist Dash Nesbitt will take the stage at Carnegie Hall Wednesday (April 15) evening as part of the "YouTube Symphony Orchestra." This ensemble is composed of 96 musicians from 30 countries, all of whom auditioned for their spots through the popular video-sharing Web site.

Daniel Stein

Daniel Stein

The contest was open to anyone, of any age, from anywhere in the world. Applicants were initially asked to download their own part of a short piece written by composer Tan Dun, recognized for his work in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Each entrant recorded his or her own part while watching a silent video of Dun conducting. The second component involved playing a few pieces from the standard repertoire.

"The idea was to synchronize and combine all these performances together to make a complete orchestra performance over the Internet," Stein said.

A panel of musicians from professional orchestras around the world narrowed down the list of more than 3,000 applicants to 200 finalists. YouTube users then chose their favorites, and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas selected the final 80 musicians based on his judgment and votes for each finalist. The YouTube Web site at which the concert will be performed is http://www.youtube.com/symphony; information about the contest winners is currently available there.

Members of the "YouTube Symphony Orchestra" are participating in a workshop that began Sunday (April 12) and will conclude with the concert Wednesday evening (April 15). The performance will be a mix of popular pieces from the classical repertoire and recently composed and improvised works.

Tilson Thomas recently told NPR's All Things Considered of the orchestra, "It could be described as something between a summit conference, scout jamboree or musical get-together. It'll be the first time that people from so many different countries will have had a chance to discover one another online and then actually meet up and make music together."

Nesbitt is a junior from Jenks, Oklahoma, who is currently studying viola with Professor Atar Arad at the Jacobs School.

"I am proud of Dash and of his selection for this event," said Arad. "In a few years, Dash will have to compete for an orchestra position -- in his case, I hope it's a major orchestra -- and what I would like him to learn from the YouTube experience is that he can indeed measure up."

After completing his degree at the Jacobs School of Music, Nesbitt plans to pursue graduate studies in New York City.

While the audition process was difficult, Stein's Massachusetts Institute of Technology background gave him added insight and motivation.

"Not only was I interested to meet musicians from all over the world -- and, of course, perform at Carnegie Hall -- but I was also interested from a technological point of view," Stein said. "The Internet will likely continue to grow as a great tool to connect classical musicians with each other and the greater public."

Stein graduated from MIT with degrees in computer science and electrical engineering. He has played the flute since he was 8 years old and says he always knew it would be a major part of his life. While he was an undergraduate student, Stein played in the MIT symphony and studied flute privately in Boston.

During his senior year at MIT, Stein decided to pursue his dream of a career in music. After MIT, Stein studied the flute on a Fulbright Fellowship in Geneva, Switzerland, with the former principal flutist of the Boston Symphony.

He chose the IU Jacobs School of Music to continue his musical development for several reasons, one of which was his professor, Tom Robertello, whom he had previously met at a music festival.

"I found his playing and teaching to be very inspiring, so I came to IU to work with him. I was also drawn to the Jacobs School because of its great faculty, not only in music performance, but also in music history and theory," Stein said.

Stein very much enjoys challenging academic music courses and explains that the music theory seminars at Jacobs are reminiscent of math classes he took at MIT. "Perhaps the reason I like these seminars is that they are small classes where a bunch of smart people wearing glasses sit around a conference table," Stein joked.

At just 26, Stein has completed his master's degree and has begun a doctoral program in music. He is pursuing music performance as a career and has been auditioning for orchestras around the country, a process he describes as extremely difficult. Although he chose this route, Stein says he can see himself incorporating aspects of engineering into his profession.

His Jacobs training will pave the way. "My flute lessons and the faculty concerts I attend give me the inspiration I need to make progress and develop as an artist."