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Posted on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 : 8:59 a.m.

U-M cellist Madeline Huberth heading to Australia to perform with YouTube Symphony

By Roger LeLievre

Madeline Huberth, a music student at the University of Michigan, is part of the YouTube generation in more ways than just her age.

Huberth, 22, is one of 300 young musicians from around the world chosen to participate in the YouTube Symphony, an ensemble sponsored by the video-sharing website that will draw young musicians to Sydney, Australia, this month for a week of performing culminating in a final concert streamed live on YouTube.


Madeline Huberth

Huberth is a fourth-year undergraduate student in cello performance and interdisciplinary physics (concentration in acoustics) at the U-M, an active member of the Telluride House, and assistant principal cello of the Lansing Symphony. She attended the Manhattan School of Music for three years, and chose the U-M because of cello teacher Richard Aaron. The New York state native expects to graduate next December.

Rather than travel to an audition, Huberth said applicants uploaded an audition video to YouTube. The requirements for each instrument were specific, and consisted of standard repertoire usually used for professional orchestral auditions. The videos were screened by a private panel and the top 300 audition videos were made public for an open vote from the YouTube community. The 300 videos then passed a final round, where the ensemble’s conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, and composer-in-residence for the orchestra, Mason Bates, made the final decision with the YouTube community's votes in mind.

Watch Madline Huberth's audition video:

“It was just as rigorous as a regular audition,” Huberth recalled. “We had a movement of a concerto, had to play a little bit of Bach, we had to play orchestral excerpts, which is what you’d expect for any professional audition.”

The winners were announced on Jan. 11.

“What this means to me is a chance to play in one of the world's most famous and beautiful concert halls, with perhaps the most unique orchestra in the world, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, who is truly one of the greatest musical leaders of our time,” Huberth said.

She expects to arrive in Sydney by March 14, rehearse and also perform in smaller ensemble configurations in the days leading up to the group’s final concert, March 20 at 8 p.m. Sydney time. The concert will be streamed live online, although Hubarth said the time difference between the U.S. and Australia means viewers who want to see it have to tune at 4 a.m. Fortunately the concert will stay up on YouTube indefinitely.

“(This is) looked at as a very, very unique opportunity,” she added. “As far as real prestige goes, a lot of prestigious festivals take time to build up their reputation ... YouTube Symphony takes kind of a different connotation in that (participation shows) you are willing to try new things, maybe try a more avant garde route for making it for yourself in the business.”

Hubarth said she appreciates the way YouTube is trying to bridge cultures though music.

“What YouTube is trying to do with this is not only promote international relations and make a stage for artistic collaboration, but also to promote music as a source for people coming together and bonding over something very intangible across boundaries,” Hubarth said. “I hope that people will tune in who maybe wouldn’t necessarily watch classical music and that it will keep their interest. I think that would make me really happy.”

Watch Madeline Huberth's introductory video:


Hot Sam

Tue, Mar 8, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

Such a beautiful and talented young lady...we should all be very proud! From an old sound guy, all the best to you Madeline!!!