March 3, 2009 in City

YouTube audition earns trip to Carnegie Hall

By The Spokesman-Review
Video: YouTube trumpeter
Jesse Tinsley photo

Eric Moe, of Spokane, plays one of his trumpets at home Monday, March 2, 2009, after learning that he was selected for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, a one-time gathering of musicians who have auditioned by posting a video on They will play Carnegie Hall en masse in April.
(Full-size photo)

Eric Moe, a classically trained trumpet player from Spokane, won a spot on an international stage Monday when he was named as a member of the all-new YouTube Symphony Orchestra.

Moe auditioned online and was selected in part by YouTube voters.

He will join an orchestra of 90 musicians from 30 countries in the first-ever performance of an online-based symphony. The selection will take him to the apex of classical performance, New York’s Carnegie Hall, where the YouTube Symphony will appear in person April 15.

“I guess I’m just going to enjoy the ride, make some good music,” Moe said Monday at his home in southeast Spokane. “I’m super excited.”

Moe, 34, said his fellow performers appear to be high-caliber musicians, based on their audition ? postings, and many are young. “I think it’s going to be a really eager, hungry group,” he said.

Organizers said there were more than 3,000 applicants worldwide.

The orchestra is billed as the first collaborative music project of its kind intended to bring together established and newer talent on a global platform.

The performers get expenses-paid trips to New York and the chance to expand their musical horizons.

As part of the April 15 show, organizers plan to show a “mashup” compilation of video auditions. Each applicant used YouTube to submit their audition of Tan Dun’s Internet Symphony No. 1, “Eroica,” under Dun’s online direction, and another work. Dun wrote his Internet symphony for the YouTube project. The mashup will be posted on YouTube on April 16.

In New York, the YouTube Symphony will be conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, who is also artistic director for the project. Tilson is music director for the San Francisco Symphony, principal guest conductor for the London Symphony and founder and artistic director of the New World Symphony, an orchestral academy in Miami Beach, Fla.

Moe, who is performing in “No, No, Nanette” at Spokane Civic Theatre, has been trying to establish himself as a professional musician in Spokane.

“I’m confident enough to say I’m a good player,” Moe said, “but gosh, there’s a million good players out there.”

He said the online element adds a different note to classical music. “It might change symphonic repertoire,” he said. “It might affect a lot how orchestras present their music and what kind of music they do and how they reach a younger audience.”

A graduate of University High School and Whitworth University, Moe left Spokane to study music at Arizona State University and to accompany his wife, Betsey Moe, to divinity school in Princeton, N.J. They moved to Denver, where Moe held positions with the Colorado Symphony and Denver Brass group.

The Moes moved back to Spokane in July, and Eric Moe has since been seeking trumpet jobs. He has performed as a substitute for the Spokane Symphony, Spokane Opera and Spokane Jazz Orchestra.

Betsey Moe is associate pastor at Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church.

Besides Moe, the U.S. winners are from Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, according to organizers.

Other countries represented are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine.

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Mike Prager can be reached at (509) 459-5454 or by e-mail at

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