YouTube sure has come a long way since launching in 2005 and being acquired by Google within a year for $1.65 billion. The company has today announced a collaborative project with a bunch of classical music institutions and artists in the context of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra program, and I think it’s awesome. Starting today until January 28, 2009, musicians are invited to submit two videos: a personal interpretation of an original Tan Dun composition, written specifically for this program, and a talent video designed to demonstrate their musical and technical abilities. The semi-finalists will be selected by an impressive panel made up of members from the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and other orchestras from around the globe. Of course, the YouTube community gets to have their say as well; users will be invited to vote on the semifinalists from February 14, 2009 through February 22, 2009. In April 2009, YouTube will follow up by co-hosting a three-day classical music summit featuring the finalists and classical music stars and orchestras at Carnegie Hall.