Celebrating and Supporting American Youth Orchestras
Note from the Chair
Dear Youth Orchestra Colleagues,
We are all up and running now with rehearsals in full flow, repertoire selected and concerts in preparation. It is so fulfilling to think of the hundreds of thousands of students who gather together each week to play great music and be part of a movement of young musicians dedicated to classical orchestral music. I applaud all of you for your hard work in supporting these students.
The work of the Youth Orchestra Division board has also begun. We recently held a phone conference board meeting and worked through our agenda of activities for the year. We have divided the work into four committees with a focus on content development for mid-year and conference meetings; strategies and resources to help current staff and faculty working in youth orchestras; national data and research; and presenting the case for youth orchestras to the orchestra field as a whole and beyond. Thank you to the 22 board members for their work so far. And stay tuned for progress in the coming months.
Meanwhile, I encourage you to consider coming to the Mid-Winter Managers Meeting in New York, January 26-28, 2013. The League is adding a special track for youth orchestras this year. Click here to register for the Youth Orchestra Meeting at Mid-Winter - we hope to see as many of you there as possible!
Chair, Youth Orchestra Division, League of American Orchestras
Executive Director, Youth Orchestras of San Antonio
Anchorage Youth Symphony Association
After culminating the season with a production of Beethoven's 9th Symphony in collaboration with the Anchorage Concert Chorus, the Anchorage Youth Symphony traveled through Central Europe in June 2012. The AYS played concerts in Budapest, Prague, and Vienna, as well as the recently refurbished Reduta Hall in Bratislava and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Nearly 65 musicians toured. Two of the concerts were played as benefits. The AYS repertoire included a newly commissioned piece "The Wild Coast," by Phillip Munger, the story of a modern couple's trek through Alaska. (The AYS premiered this piece in March 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska.) This was the third international tour for the AYS in the preceding four years. Other tour locations have included Sydney, Australia in 2009 and China in 2010, as well as an in-state tour in 2011.
Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra
What an exciting theme we have this season at BYSO – “A Celebration of the Symphony!” Every time you attend a Masterworks concert this season you will hear a full symphony. For Masterworks Concert No. 1, November 4, we have Amy Beach’s Symphony No. 2. Mrs. Beach lived from 1867 to 1944. Early in her life, women were not encouraged to be in the public. They were expected to stay home and run the household. However, Mrs. Beach’s husband felt that composing would be an appropriate direction for her musical abilities. Her Symphony No. 2 is full of exuberant, passionate and tender musical ideas bursting off the page.
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras
This summer, CYSO concluded its 65th Anniversary season with a ten day tour to Madrid, Cuenca, Valencia and Barcelona, Spain. CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra performed four concerts in some of Spain’s most prestigious concert halls, including a joint concert with the Joven Orquesta de la Mancha.
|CYSO with Justin Timberlake at the 2012 Ryder Cup
In September, CYSO’s 66th season started off with a bang as its Encore Chamber Orchestra was invited to perform at the 2012 Ryder Cup golf tournament. During the Opening Ceremony, the orchestra accompanied actor Justin Timberlake for his welcome as Team USA Ambassador of the Ryder Cup and also performed the music for the famous Ryder Cup procession of the American and European teams and dignitaries. During the Closing Ceremony, the orchestra performed the Star Spangled Banner with Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison and the European Anthem with Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti. Both ceremonies were broadcast live internationally on the Golf Channel.
DC Youth Orchestra Program
DCYOP is thrilled to launch its 53rd concert season with its Youth Orchestra's Fall Concert at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 2:00pm. The concert is FREE and open to the public, although tickets are required. Led by Maestro Jesus Manuel Berard, the concert program includes Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage by Felix Mendelssohn, Charles Ives’ Fugue from his Symphony No.4 and Beethoven's Symphony No.8.
|Fall 2012 Youth Orchestra Concert
El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras
This past summer, 30 EPSYOs students took part in our first concert tour to San Diego and Los Angeles. Students gave performances on the USS Midway and were invite to perform in Disney’s Performing Arts series. This fall, EPSYOs began its seventh season this fall with a record number of students performing in four ensembles. The 2012-2013 season will feature the 2nd year of our Conducting Apprentice Program where youth orchestra students get instruction on the basics of conducting technique, score analysis, ear training, and receive opportunities to conduct EPSYOs ensembles in rehearsal and performance. The EPSYOs is honored to be a recipient of a $30,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for the 2012-2013 season.
|ESYO at the 2012 World Expo in Yeosu, South Korea
Empire State Youth Orchestras
Empire State Youth Orchestras (ESYO) summer 2012 began the adventure of a life-time for 85 musicians from ESYO’s flagship orchestra as it toured Asia. Under the baton of Music Director Helen Cha-Pyo, seven concerts were given over a two-week period. Highlights in China included concerts at famed music halls in Beijing and Shanghai, climbing The Great Wall, and tours of the city in rickshaws; the South Korean portion included a concert at the 2012 World Expo (to which the orchestra had been invited to perform), a concert on Sorok Island for elderly survivors of Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) who had been isolated on the island for their lifetimes, and an outdoor concert at Aeyangwon Hospital. The tour concluded in Seoul with two performances: the first at a Youth Orchestra Festival (ESYO was the only non-Korean orchestra) and the second at the US Army Base where the orchestra played patriotic music for US troops and their families.
Houston Youth Symphony
Houston Youth Symphony celebrates its 65th anniversary season with a special concert on January 17, 2013 featuring some of the most talented musicians from the greater Houston region. Led by Artistic Director and Conductor Dr. Michael Webster, the HYS performs Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture along with selections from Gustav Holst’s The Planets. The concert culminates with Beethoven’s stunning Choral Fantasy, performed with Houston Masterworks Chorus and pianist Timothy Hester.
Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras
We recently had an open rehearsal for the Philharmonic with guest artist BBC Chief Conductor, Juanjo Mena. Our Chamber Strings concerto competition will be held this fall. Our December 9th concert will feature MCYO's Artistic Director and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster, Jonathan Carney, and National Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster, Nurit Bar-Josef, performing an unprecedented Mozart Concertante with our Philharmonic Orchestra. We continue our collaborations with BSO, NSO and National Philharmonic in offering master classes.
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra recently presented “Giving Kids a Sound Start,” a celebration of its successful Community Partnership Programs and long-time executive director Fran Richman, which included a formal concert by the Sphinx Virtuosi, an evening gala, and school performances and master classes by Sphinx players. The events helped MYSO raise $2 million for its Fran's Fund scholarship initiative, ensuring that all young musicians, regardless of financial circumstances, can benefit from the broad range of life-changing musical experiences MYSO offers.
MYSO’s flagship orchestra, the Senior Symphony, performed July 10 in a sold-out Gala Winners' Concert, concluding the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Festival & Competition (involving 1500 musicians from 31 countries) in Vienna. Following a competition performance conducted by Music Director Margery Deutsch held in the Musikverein’s Golden Hall, the jury awarded MYSO, the only American symphony orchestra invited to compete, second place "with outstanding success" in the Symphony Orchestra category.
|Philharmonic Association Triangle Youth Music
Raleigh's highest arts honor, the Medal of Arts, was presented to the Philharmonic Association on October 3rd. The Philharmonic Association was honored for contributing to the cultural life of Raleigh and Wake County through orchestral and jazz music education programs for young people. The organization's conductors and educators "serve as powerful role models of integrity, organization, and commitment", the Arts Commission said.
Phoenix Youth Symphony
Phoenix Youth Symphony is in its 60th season, opening with former Boston Symphony Orchestra horn player, Daniel Katzen as soloist. We will be having our first ever Alumni Concert in December. PYS has added The Chamber Winds, a new elite ensemble for winds and percussionists conducted by Nathan Johnston. Our annual Music Memory program is scheduled for February and will serve more than 5000 students in the Phoenix metro area. In addition, Symphonette Orchestra, under Dr. Walter Temme, will be performing at Arizona Musicfest Minutes Program education concert in April. The Young Musicians Competition continues to attract many talents from the valley for a chance to win summer music camp scholarship and an opportunity for concerto performance with The Phoenix Symphony. The 2013 Side-By-Side concert with The Phoenix Symphony will celebrate Stravinsky's Rite of Spring Centennial conducted by PYS conductor Keitaro Harada. phoenixyouthsymphony.org
|Phoenix Youth Symphony photo by Steel Feather Studios/Shea Casey Photography
Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra
The Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra recently concluded a one-year fundraising campaign that successfully met a goal of $40,000 in order to purchase four large instruments: harp, contrabassoon, orchestral chimes, and bass drum. The bass drum was handcrafted and made specially for PYSO by Andrew Reamer, member of the percussion section of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory
Annual Performing Arts College Fair 2012 In November, the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) hosts an Annual Performing Arts College Fair in Balboa Park, San Diego. Every year representatives from more than twenty universities and conservatories from across the country come to reveal the numerous opportunities both SDYS students and other young musicians have to continue their music education. All music students from the area and their parents are invited to this free event. In addition, the day includes a panel discussion with Jeff Edmons, SDYS Music Director, Sidney Yin, Artistic Administrator, and a parent of an alum about the experience of applying to music schools. Participating schools are listed at sdys.org/collegefair.
SDYS, a participant in the League’s Institutional Vision Program, is the winner of the 2012 Prudential Leadership Award. This award, honoring outstanding governance and leadership in advancing a strategic vision, was awarded at the recent BoardSource Leadership Forum. SDYS was chosen from 55 submissions across a national pool of U.S. nonprofits. For a short video about the work, click here.
Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras
SYSO is celebrating its 70th anniversary season! As one of the oldest members of Seattle’s arts community, we take pride in our long history of inspiring performance excellence in talented young musicians. The highlight of the 2012-13 season will be a gala Anniversary Concert on April 28, 2013, featuring performances by all four of our academic orchestras and other special events. We are also thrilled to announce a series of performance partnerships with prestigious Seattle arts organizations. Working with the Seattle Opera, SYSO will perform the world premiere of a cycle of three chamber operas for young audiences called Our Earth. For the fourth year in a row, top SYSO musicians will perform with the Pacific Northwest Ballet School's Professional Division dancers and emerging choreographers for A Day of Dance in June 2013. For more information, visit us at syso.org or find us on Facebook (facebook.com/SeattleYSO).
|Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras
Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras
WYSO's Youth Orchestra will perform in a joint concert with the renowned St. Olaf Orchestra at the Middleton Performing Arts Center on Saturday, October 20. The Youth Orchestra will perform "Danzas Fantasticas" by Joaquin Turina as the introductory piece of the concert and the St. Olaf Orchestra will follow with works by Sibelius, Debussy, and Ravel. Youth Orchestra, WYSO's most advanced performing group, composed of students age 13-18, will also play the Turina piece at the Evelyn Steenbock Fall Concerts in Madison's Mills Concert Hall on November 18.
Youth Orchestras of Central Virginia
The Youth Symphony of the Youth Orchestras of Central Virginia, under the direction of Dr. Charles West, received "Commended Winner Award" from the National Orchestra Honors Project sponsored by The Foundation for Music in Excellence. Submitted for the 2012 competition was our Youth Symphony's performance of Cesar Franck's Symphony in d minor and Mendelssohn's "Reformation Symphony". There were 184 submissions by high school, middle school, and youth orchestras throughout the country.
Houston Youth Symphony
Houston Youth Symphony Artistic Director and Conductor Dr. Michael Webster has been awarded the 2012 American Prize in Conducting - Youth Orchestra Division for the second consecutive year.
Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra
Maestro Leonard Slatkin, Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, served as coach and adjudicator for the third annual student conducting competition of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra in October. Out of the six PYSO members that competed, Mr. Slatkin choose senior bass player Daniel Mallapalli as the winner who will as a result conduct “Farandole” from Bizet's L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2 in a public performance this year at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh. Following the afternoon conducting competition, Mr. Slatkin rehearsed the 90-piece orchestra in Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, the featured piece on the upcoming December 2 concert that will be conducted by PYSO Music Director Lawrence Loh.
News & Resources
Register for El Sistema Symposium December 3-5, 2012
Registration is now open for the Social Action Through Music Symposium, which will take place in Philadelphia December 3-5, 2012. The symposium is designed as a resource for anyone in the nonprofit arts, educational, and social organizations interested in El Sistema and the power of improving young lives through the pursuit of music. Sessions will be an opportunity for shared problem-solving in which all session presenters and participants will be encouraged to connect the philosophy and promise of El Sistema, the music education and social development program of Venezuela. Learn more about the sessions, registration information, our facilitators and guests, and general symposium information at elsistemasymposium.com.
Sphinx Holds Inaugural Convening on Diversity in the Performing Arts
From February 15-17, 2013, the Sphinx Organization will host “Sphinxcon,” its inaugural conference bringing together performing arts leaders and practitioners to discuss the topic of diversity in the arts. Participants will share ideas, build connections, and be empowered to take action via a series of featured and guest speakers in an innovative, unconventional format. Click here to learn more and to register.
Two Diversity Resources
As the demographics of our society change, nonprofit boards are recognizing the need to become more culturally competent to meet the needs of the diverse communities their organizations serve. BoardSource’s The Board Diversity in Action assessment tool focuses on age (multi-generational), gender, and racial/ethnic diversity.
Another useful resource that may help your board and staff increase its diversity and adopt inclusive policies and practices is the FREE Diversity in Action eBook. In order to function at the highest level, nonprofit boards need to ensure that their members represent diverse points of view and create a culture that encourages and nurtures diverse expression. Click here to register for this free eBook: Diversity in Action eBook.
National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards: Be Ready to Apply Soon!
The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will soon be accepting applications for the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards this November. With its $10,000 award for each winner, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program assists organizations, furthers knowledge, and encourages development of future programs.
After-school and out-of-school time arts and humanities programs sponsored by performing arts organizations, museums, libraries, educational institutions, arts centers, community service organizations, businesses, and eligible government entities are encouraged to submit an application. Be sure to review all of the program's Eligibility Criteria and note that the deadline will be January, 2013. Sign up for updates on when the application period begins.
Arts Education Toolkit Now Available: Federal Snapshot of Arts Education
The League, together with its national partners, created a toolkit on Arts Access in U.S. Schools (2009-10 FRSS) to help orchestras understand and communicate about the Snapshot FRSS results, released in full earlier this year. The federal snapshot of Arts Education, "Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999-2000 and 2009-10" (also known as the Fast Response Survey System) was was conducted by the National Center on Education Statistics (NCES), in partnership with the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education, and it is the first collection of this information in 10 years. Principals and teachers (including arts specialists as well as elementary classroom teachers) reported during the 2009-2010 school year on the conditions of K-12 arts education.
Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S.
Doug Borwick contends that established arts organizations, for practical and moral reasons, need to be more deeply connected to their communities. Building Communities, Not Audiences serves as an essential primer for any member of the arts community–artist, administrator, board member, patron–who is interested in the future of the arts in the U.S.
National YoungArts Foundation Provides Free Resources to Teachers
YoungArts is distributing copies of Pursuing Your Passion: Lessons from YoungArts MasterClass, a study guide booklet and 2-DVD set, free of charge to middle and high schools nationwide. The guide and DVD was developed in conjunction with Columbia University’s Teachers College and is based on the award winning HBO YoungArts MasterClass series in which masters teach and mentor young artists. The educational tool, as well as a plethora of materials are available free of charge to schools and teachers nationwide as a download from the Teachers College’s EdLab website at youngartsmasterclass.org.
The YoungArts MasterClass series, directed by the award winning documentary team of Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon, captures the moments between young artists and the masters who mentor them. These episodes feature YoungArts alumni in the visual literary and performing arts working with internationally renowned artistic masters including Edward Albee, Jacques d’Amboise, Plácido Domingo, Olafur Eliasson, Frank Gehry, Bill T. Jones, Julian Schnabel, Michael Tilson Thomas and Liv Ullmann. Season 2 will feature, among others, Renée Fleming, Robert Redford, John Guare, Bobby McFerrin, Patti LuPone, Bruce Weber, Joshua Bell, and Wynton Marsalis.
The Power of Music in Juvenile Justice
What is the potential of music in the lives of court-involved youth and the juvenile justice system? WolfBrown, in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, has released an exploratory paper that investigates the potential of music to make contributions to the lives of young people in juvenile justice settings, building on the current work of many of the institutions committed to these young people.
Carnegie Hall’s commitment to this area stems from the Musical Connections Program, which offers diverse live music experiences for people in healthcare settings, correctional facilities, senior-service organizations, and homeless shelters across New York City. This season marks the fourth year of creative workshops for teenagers in detention settings, as well as new projects in non-secure placement and probation settings. This work is examined in the paper as an example of the possibilities and challenges of programs in juvenile justice settings. The publication, "May the Songs I Have Written Speak for Me," is available for download under the “Featured Resource” section on the Musical Connections webpage.
How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control. How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough traces the links between childhood stress and life success. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood and he also provides new insights into how to help children growing up in poverty. Tough’s work was featured on a recent episode of This American Life, which is available for free streaming online.