YouTube 2011 orchestra conducting online auditions
Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas rehearses with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York.

NEW YORK - A cyberspace-based orchestra is conducting online auditions to find the best players to appear at a music summit in Australia that will be live-streamed on the Web.

The call for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 opened last week.

YouTube launched its orchestra project last year with a sold-out Carnegie Hall concert featuring more than 90 musicians from 30 countries, including a surgeon-violinist and a professional poker player-cellist.

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The announcement for this year's auditions was made at Carnegie Hall - part publicity stunt by its producers, part vanity trip by its participants, part opportunity to attract a younger crowd to classical music.

"We're exploring how classical music's 1,200-year-long tradition can enter the realm of high technology," Grammy-award winning conductor Michael Tilson Thomas said.

Musicians must upload audition videos of designated pieces to demonstrate their musical and technical abilities at Any instrumentalist may also submit an improvisation based on a new piece called "Mothership" by composer Mason Bates for an opportunity to play a solo.

After the auditions end Nov. 28, an expert panel from leading orchestras will narrow entries. YouTube's global community of hundreds of millions of viewers will then be invited to vote for the semifinalists, from Dec. 10 to 17. Winners are to be announced Jan. 11.

Starting March 13, the selected musicians will spend a week in rehearsals and master classes, both online and in person, taught by members of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Sydney Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

The summit peaks with a March 20 performance streamed live on YouTube, a subsidiary of Google Inc. based in San Bruno, Calif.

"We helped fundamentally challenge the norms of an entire industry and provided a digital meeting place for classical musicians around the world," said Ed Sanders, YouTube's senior marketing manager.

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