How to get to Carnegie Hall

Israeli oboeist Nir Gavrieli will play at NY venue, thanks to YouTube.

Nir Gavrieli 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Nir Gavrieli 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The old joke about a musician asking a New York cabbie how to get to Carnegie Hall and being told "practice, practice, practice" is now receiving an unusual twist. Young Israeli oboeist Nir Gavrieli is taking a rather unconventional route to the famed New York concert hall - via YouTube. The 21-year-old fourth-year student at the Jerusalem Academy of Music has been selected to be a member of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, the world's first orchestra selected entirely through auditions via the popular Internet video site. Gavrieli and 89 other musicians from 30 countries will participate in a classical music summit from April 12-15, concluding with a concert at Carnegie Hall under the direction of London Symphony Orchestra Principal Guest Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. "It was really exciting," Gavrieli said Wednesday, during a break from classes. "I got an e-mail on Friday telling me I had been selected and telling me to keep it a secret until Monday when they were going to make the announcement. So I couldn't tell anybody except for my family and some friends." Since YouTube launched the competition in December, the site received over 3,000 video auditions, which were viewed by more than 13 million people. But Gavrieli nearly didn't get his act together to submit his clip in time. "There were flyers about the competition put up at school, but I didn't really notice them. Then I talked to some friends about it, and I held onto a flyer for a few weeks without doing anything about it. I only got around to recording my audition on the last day before the deadline," said Gavrieli, who for his audition performed the oboe part from Symphony No. 1, Eroica, a piece especially written for the orchestra by Chinese composer Tan Dun, and the overture to La Scala di Seta by Rossini. After a preliminary screening by musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony, among others, the videos of 200 finalists were collected and posted on the YouTube Symphony Orchestra channel on February 14. YouTube viewers voted for their favorites and Tilson Thomas reviewed the finalists to create the orchestra that will perform the program at Carnegie Hall on April 15.