Pa. symphony ends YouTube contest without winner

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By JOE MANDAK, Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has chosen to not name a winner in its nationwide online concerto competition.

Music director Manfred Honeck announced the first-of-its-kind contest in February. Honeck and symphony officials came up with the idea in hopes of finding talented musicians who were not already represented by talent agencies and who, otherwise, might not have come to the symphony's attention.

Orchestra official Robert Moir said Monday that not selecting a winner "was a very difficult decision," but officials expect to try the experiment again and would apply lessons learned from this attempt.

"This is the first time that anybody's ever tried to do this. We had no idea what we would find," said Moir, the symphony's senior vice president of artistic planning and audience engagement.

"Our goal was to discover an unknown talent performing at the level of soloists with the Pittsburgh Symphony. We did not find that," he said. "We did, however, find some wonderful young musicians who we encouraged as strongly as we could to continue their growth. We will follow developments in their young careers with great interest."

Soloists entered by downloading 10-minute clips onto a symphony YouTube website. A panel of musicians and other experts picked eight semi-finalists from the 104 eligible videos, and the public voted on them in April. The top four were flown to Pittsburgh for auditions.

The winner was to receive $10,000 and a solo slot at two symphony concerts this fall.

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