YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011's Grand Finale in Sydney Breaks YouTube Records

YouTube’s Most Watched Streaming Event to Date Had More Than 30 Million Views, Three Times More Than for U2 Concert

Who said Classical Music was dead???

Who said classical music is dying? Not only was the grand finale concert by the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 on March 20 at the Sydney Opera House the most watched classical concert in history: it was also the most viewed live streaming event ever seen on YouTube. With more than 30 million views, it drew a virtual audience three times bigger than U2's YouTube concert. The culmination of a week of rehearsals, concerts and master-classes in Sydney, the YouTube Symphony's finale also proved to be the most watched live mobile stream on record, with nearly 3 million views on mobile devices. Each viewer of the live webcast watched the Sydney concert for an average of 25 minutes. It was a massive internet event, with the total stream (ie. combining the live and 24-hour looped repeat streams) transferring 422TB of data – the equivalent of sending 145 million mp3 files around the world. Twitter activity was also off the charts: #ytso, the event’s hashtag, reached number one as a global trending topic.

NPR Music said about the event: “It was classical music outreach on a global scale, with an exuberant mix of musicians, videos, live projections, smart programming, social media and video technology firing on all cylinders.”

Seen by the world, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 was also drawn from the world, with members from more than 33 countries. Led by artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas, the orchestra performed a dazzling finale of music by composers from Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas, and it was joined by top-rank soloists, including violinists Richard Tognetti, Colin Jacobsen and Stefan Jackiw, organist Cameron Carpenter, percussion group Synergy, conductor Ilyich Rivas, and – by video link – soprano Renée Fleming. The artistry of the YouTube Symphony was visually amplified by real-time, audio-reactive graphic projections. Obscura Digital's technical artists integrated live camera feeds from the concert hall with stylized treatments and live digital painting, beaming the projections from a half-mile away onto the façade of the Sydney Opera House's iconic western sails.

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