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Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music
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Last modified: Friday, March 18, 2011

IU Jacobs School students participate in 2011 YouTube Symphony Orchestra

Concert to be streamed live from Australia March 20

March 18, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- For the second time in succession, two Indiana University Jacobs School of Music students have been chosen to participate in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra project under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. The host for this year's international musical celebration is the Sydney Opera House in Australia, one of the most innovative performing arts complexes in the world.

Bassist Matt Gray, a student of Professor Bruce Bransby, and violist Caroline Gilbert, a student of Professor Atar Arad, are among 101 instrumentalists from 33 countries chosen to take part in the week-long series of rehearsals and performances, culminating in the Grand Finale on March 20, which will be streamed live at 5 a.m. EST from The concert will be rebroadcast online throughout the day.

Gray and Gilbert competed to participate in the orchestra by recording and submitting a YouTube video of required repertoire and then auditioning online with 336 finalists. A number of Jacobs School alumni have also been chosen to participate, including bassist Dave Milburn, who studied with Bransby; violist Jasmine Beams, who studied with professors Mauricio Fuks and Alan de Veritch; and clarinetist Irene Chen, who studied with Professor Howard Klug.

"It's a really cool thing that we're doing," said Gray from Australia. "I think that what Michael Tilson Thomas said when we arrived rings true: he encouraged us to not only play well but consider ourselves as ambassadors of the world of music in all that we do."

Nine orchestras around the world participated in the judging, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and Sydney Symphony. During a week of online voting in December, YouTube users gave their input on the finalists.

The sold-out March 20 concert, accompanied by projections on the interior and exterior sails of the Sydney Opera House, will include Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky's Suite from The Firebird and Mothership, a commissioned work by composer Mason Bates.

YouTube first launched its online symphony orchestra in 2009, when some 90 performers gathered in Carnegie Hall in New York to broadcast music to more than 14 million viewers worldwide. Two Jacobs School of Music students participated in the event: flutist Daniel Stein and violist Dash Nesbitt.

Read an interview with Matt Gray about the project on WFIU Public Radio at

Enjoy the audition videos and much more at the YouTube Symphony Orchestra Web site at