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How YouTube can get you to Carnegie Hall

Contest organized by the Google video site and classical-music heavy-hitters encourages members to enter via video submission and yes, possibly win a trip to perform there.

Right now, the most famous classical musician on YouTube is arguably Nora the piano-playing cat. She, sorry to say, probably isn't eligible for "YouTube Symphony Orchestra," a new competition from the Google-owned video-sharing site.

Musicians from around the world (legitimate ones: I'm looking at you, Modded Guitar Hero Controller Guy) are invited to audition by submitting videos of themselves performing "Internet Symphony No. 1," an original piece written specially for YouTube by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon composer Tan Dun, in addition to a "talent video."

Judges come from the London Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and a number of other high-end orchestras--they'll winnow the selections down to a set of semifinalists by February 14.

Then, YouTube members will vote on their favorite semifinalists, and winners will be announced on March 2. The prize? A trip to New York for three days of a "classical-music summit" with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and a performance at the legendary Carnegie Hall.

YouTube has sponsored competitions before, like the "Democracy Challenge" filmmaking competition, but this is the first one open to anyone from any country, the company said.

I hope that they at least invite Nora to watch. I'm sure she can sit still.