Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Down to Business with… Two members of 101-piece YouTube Symphony Orchestra

YouTube.com has long been Northwestern’s number-one supplier of bizarre, embarrassing, hilarious and otherwise entertaining Internet memes (Bed Intruder Song, anyone?). This spring, Northwestern is giving YouTube something in return: two members of this year’s 101-piece YouTube Symphony Orchestra.

After auditioning via YouTube video, Music juniors and longtime friends Danny Lai and Julia Yang were selected this week to play at the Sydney Opera House in March. Lai, a violist, and Yang, a cellist, gave The Current a glimpse into their thoughts on music, kangaroos and the information superhighway.

The Current: How does it feel being scrutinized by other people through YouTube?

Julia Yang: As a musician, I’m kind of used to that atmosphere of being in front of an audience of musicians and getting critiqued for it, both positive and negative critique. I guess for YouTube, it’s the world. It’s not just your studio or your recital. It could be whoever.

Danny Lai: The community is kind of vicious. After they released the finalists, people who didn’t make the finals, they would go on the YouTube symphony website trash-talking, like, “This person shouldn’t have gotten in.” [To Julia] Don’t worry, you weren’t on the list.

TC: Is there a difference between violinists and cellists and violists?

DL: Certain kinds of people play the instruments. Violin players are supposed to be kind of arrogant.

JY: Uptight.

DL: Competitive. And kind of meaner. Viola players are classier and more well-rounded.

JY: What! They can be a little more out there, the violas, but they’re usually more chill. And cellos are pretty chill. They’re usually compatible with each other – they get along, have fun.

TC: What are you looking forward to in Australia?

JY: I hear it’s gorgeous there, and I heard that there are rock pools. I don’t know if this is true, but Sydney people swim in them because they don’t have all the dangerous poisonous animals of the ocean.

DL: One of my propaganda things for getting people to vote for me was that I wanted to hug a kangaroo. I told everyone, “If you vote for me, I’ll hug a kangaroo and take pictures for you.” But I’ve heard that kangaroos can be kind of vicious.

JY: I’ve heard that too. Someone actually messaged me, and she was like, “They have animal parks, like petting zoos where you can just touch them and stuff.” I was like, okay, as long as they don’t attack me.

TC: Best and worst points of your experience?

DL: They forced us to make a video to introduce ourselves to other people, talk about ourselves and –

JY: It was really embarrassing.

DL: It was hard because we’re both kind of awkward in front of the camera.

JY: We’re both definitely in the music school – not in, like, RTVF.

DL: Also at the same time, it was pretty fun. I feel like our friends enjoyed it.

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This was originally published in The Current, a weekly supplement to The Daily Northwestern.

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Down to Business with… Two members of 101-piece YouTube Symphony Orchestra