This report was broadcast on BBC World Service radio in March 2009.
“Later today, Google will announce the winning contestants in the You Tube Orchestra competition. They’ve spent the last two months choosing an ensemble of musicians from all over the world, to perform an original work by Chinese composer Tan Dun at Carnegie Hall in New York in April.
Contestants posted videos of themselves online, playing one of an approved list of audition pieces. After three thousand entrants had been whittled down to two hundred finalists by professional musicians, You Tube’s users did the rest, voting for the performances they liked most.
Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, who will take charge of the orchestra in New York, had the final power of veto, but it was still an unprecedented democratic exercise, adapting the hugely successful Pop Idol format for the concert hall, to promote classical music on the internet. Our New York reporter, Andrew Purcell, has been following the judging process all the way through, and he’s made this report.