12 January 2011

Mathisha Panagoda
Mathisha Panagoda

YouTubeyesterday announced the 101 musicians from all over the world who have been selected from over 2,000 applicants to form the YouTube Symphony Orchestra which will come to Sydney in March 2011. Four Australian musicians were chosen and the only Sydney resident is Mathisha Panagoda (23), who was Principal Cello in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's Symphony and Chamber Orchestras and graduated B Mus (Hons) in 2008.

The other winning musicians will be flown to Sydney for a week of rehearsals and concerts from 14 to 20 March 2011 under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, the Music Director of San Francisco Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. The climax of the week will be a concert at Sydney Opera House on Sunday 20 March that will be streamed live around the world.

Students and staff at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music are looking forward to welcoming the members of YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 to Sydney. They come from more than 30 countries, and range in age from 14 to 49 years old. Michael Tilson Thomas will be giving a Masterclass at the Conservatorium and there will be a special concert by the Brass Ensemble of the Orchestra in the Verbrugghen Hall on Wednesday 16 March.

Mathisha Panagoda first started to play the cello at the age of four, inspired by his older brother. At 16, he enrolled in the Conservatorium Open Academy and began studying with Georg Pedersen, who he describes as "a wonderful teacher." In his final year as a full-time tertiary student at The Con, he used an Arts Grant from Sydney University Union to set up a chamber music group, Sydney Camerata, which continues to flourish. Sydney Camerata has six core members and others who join to form a full chamber orchestra for special performances. Their next public concert will be at North Sydney Independent Theatre on 27 February. Bookings via

While he has ambitions to take Sydney Camerata to new levels of excellence and on tour overseas, Mathisha is well aware that the career-path of a classical musician is not always easy. He is currently taking a postgraduate Law course at the University of Sydney, the new Juris Doctor degree.

The Dean and Principal of the Conservatorium, Professor Kim Walker, said: "Mathisha is a very talented musician and we are delighted that he has received this accolade from YouTube. We're very proud of him and wish him every success."

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 5d0c0b5c4c285221251a26394e570a46492359573077133127774a17