Upbeat (Fall 2010)

Celebrating and Supporting American Youth Orchestras

Fall 2010

Note from the Chair

Note from the League

21st Century Skills Include the Arts

Join Carnegie Hall by becoming a National partner!

NEC Welcomes Second Class of Abreu Fellows

First Lady Presents National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

Music and Conversation with Midori

Orchestra Notes
UPBEAT is published twice a year by the Youth Orchestra Division of the League of American Orchestras, the nonprofit service and educational organization dedicated to the development of American symphony orchestras and to the cultural vitality of the communities they serve.
LET'S TALK -- Youth Orchestra E-Mail Discussion Group

Contact the Youth Orchestra Division Board

Note from the Chair

Dear YOD Constituents,

League of American youth orchestras are as varied as the colors in a rainbow. Affiliated, non-affiliated, college-supported, urban, rural, large, small, performance-based, education-based—the list goes on and on. But we do have one mission in common—the goal of providing high quality musical experiences for our membership. There is no one way to reach this pinnacle; but, whatever method each member youth orchestra chooses the Youth Orchestra Division of the League stands at the ready to assist. To that end, I ask that each executive director and music director take a moment to let me know the most critical issue your organization is facing as well as the most vital assistance we can provide. The League, the Youth Orchestra Division Board, and I want to know. We are here for you, wishing to applaud each and every youth orchestra as it comes to its full potential and aid in any way possible. Your thoughts will lay the groundwork for prospective work of the YOD and will spark and inspire ideas that lead us into the next decade. Let us know what we can do.

Again, please allow me to express my appreciation for the opportunity to Chair the YOD Board of the League of American Orchestras. Even with twenty-five years in the trenches I still leave conferences and meetings with sky-high enthusiasm and the greatest of respect and admiration from those associated with the League and the youth orchestra world. I am honored to be a part of such a dedicated assembly of individuals.

If you have not been a part of these conferences it is never too late to start. Please join us in Minneapolis in June and sample the wide range of all things orchestral that will be offered. You will not regret it.

Thank you,

Melody Welsh-Buchholz
Chair, Youth Orchestra Division, League of American Orchestras
Executive Director, Louisville Youth Orchestra
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Note from the League

This fall has already been a busy season, filled with recognition of the arts in the first national Arts in Education Week, which will be held every second week of September. Following that, October was National Arts and Humanities Month, which was kicked off with a Presidential Proclamation. While these are excellent opportunities to mobilize with arts advocates throughout the country, orchestras are most effective when they play their part at the local level, speaking up to improve the status of arts education. So far more than 230 orchestras nationwide have endorsed a statement of common cause, Orchestras Support In-School Music Education, which was drafted with input from more than 50 orchestras. The statement reflects their commitment to take individual, community-specific action to improve access to music education in schools and continues to gather support. If your orchestra is not on the list, urge your executive director to sign on, and remember to share your advocacy stories with the League. Click here to join the national signatories in support of In-School Music Education today!

The League’s Heather Noonan recently wrote an article, “Understanding the Big Picture,” for the Ohio Music Educators Association magazine, TRIAD, on the topic of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and how it is essential for arts advocates to stay abreast of and contribute to key policy discussions in the broader education reform debate. Advocates interested in tracking the national conversation in arts education have a great new resource in The AEP Wire, a new series of web-based fast responses produced by the Arts Education Partnership.
21st Century Skills Include the Arts

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the three Rs and four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation). While leading districts and schools are already doing this, P21 advocates for local, state and federal policies that support this approach for every school. Click here to learn more about the partnership and to view the Arts Skills Map.

Join Carnegie Hall by becoming a National partner!

At Carnegie Hall, we want to make sure that music can be at the center of everyone’s lives. The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall’s FREE Link Up program pairs up third through fifth graders at local schools across the country with orchestras like yours to explore orchestral repertoire through a core musical concept.

High quality curriculum materials, in-depth online audio and video resources, and professional development webinars allow teachers, students, and administrators to explore musical concepts, culminating in an interactive concert in which students perform prepared repertoire on voice, strings, and/or soprano recorder. Link Up is a unique program that encourages and connects teachers, administrators, Carnegie Hall staff, and featured contributors to share ideas, student work, videos, and photos.

For more information, join us for a conference call hosted by the League of American Orchestras during the week of December 6th. Email Misty Tolle, Director of School and Family Programs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 212-903-9783 for details.

Please visit www.carnegiehall.org/communitieslinkup for more information about this FREE program and how your orchestra can become a national Link Up partner.

NEC Welcomes Second Class of Abreu Fellows
Following upon an extraordinarily successful pilot year, the Abreu Fellows Program at New England Conservatory welcomes its second class of 10 post-graduate musicians “passionate for their art and social justice” to train as leaders for El Sistema-inspired music education programs in the United States and beyond. The program was created in response to El Sistema founder José Antonio Abreu’s TED Wish to Change the World and is an important initiative of El Sistema USA, which is headquartered at NEC. Classes begin October 4 and continue through June 2011 and include residencies in several American cities and in Venezuela. The program is under the direction of Mark Churchill, Director of El Sistema USA; Stephanie Scherpf, Managing Director; and Erik Holmgren, Education Director, Abreu Fellows Program.

The new class brings together seven women and three men, ranging in age from 22–44. A bassoonist, a conductor, and a percussionist, join seven string players, including a member of the Cleveland Orchestra’s first violin section.

For this second year, program planners are working to deepen the Fellows’ connections within NEC and the Boston community. Fellows will combine intensive seminar learning with field work at the local, national and international level. The students will be assigned to several different music-rich organizations in the Boston area. These community placements will offer on-the-ground experience in curriculum design, non-profit management, grant writing, strategic planning, and partnerships. Seminars will once again draw on the resources of NEC as well as nationally-renowned artists and educators to focus on two primary areas of study: music education and organizational management.
Meet the new Abreu Fellows

First Lady Presents National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

On October 20, 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program awardees were honored at a White House ceremony, which included remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama. The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), present the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, formerly known as the Coming Up Taller Awards, in order to recognize and support the accomplishments of exceptional arts and humanities after-school and out-of-school programs. Finalists receive $10,000 and enhanced leadership development support for each organization—a year-long effort to nurture networking and raise the visibility of these programs that are making a measurable difference in the lives of young people and their communities. All programs must be nominated or self-nominated. Completed nominations should be submitted via the online application process. The online nomination application will be made available on Monday, November 15, 2010.

Music and Conversation with Midori

This summer violinist Midori was featured on Performance Today in an hour of music and conversation. In addition to performing various pieces, Midori spends time talking about her Orchestra Residencies Program (ORP) and the many ways in which she is reaching out to young musicians and young listeners. Two audio clips are available. In the first, Midori discusses the ORP in between performances of Bach and Brahms. The second audio clip includes more about ORP, the benefits of youth orchestras, and performances of Hindemeth and Kreisler.
Orchestra Notes
The Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra (KSYO) will perform side by side with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO) on November 18 and 19 at the Tennessee Theatre in celebration of the KSO’s 75th Anniversary. The two orchestras will perform Shostakovich’s Festive Overture. KSO Music Director Lucas Richman will conduct. Prior to the concert start time, the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty with dancers from Go! Contemporary Dance Works. This performance will be conducted by KSYO Music Director James Fellenbaum. This will be a repeat performance from their season opener, which will take place on Monday, November 15 at the Tennessee Theatre.

Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) is pleased to be hosting a residency with internationally renowned violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson. Laredo and Robinson will teach master classes for YOSA string players and perform at a fundraising dinner to support YOSA’s innovative educational programs. The centerpiece of the residency will be a November 7 concert with the YOSA Philharmonic, conducted by Music Director Troy Peters, at the Majestic Theatre. Laredo and Robinson will play the Texas premiere of David Ludwig’s critically acclaimed Double Concerto, which was commissioned for these soloists in 2008.

The Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra celebrates its 40th season of fulfilling its call from students, parents and public and private music teachers for a full-school year, region-wide youth orchestra. From its beginnings, the RPYO has been closely affiliated with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and has been fortunate to involve RPO musicians in many aspects of its program. Special guests and special events for the season include a collaboration with a prominent high school chorus; RPYO alumni guest soloists from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman at our Side-by-Side Concert with the RPO; a visit from our sister youth orchestra, the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra; and a 40th Anniversary Gala Weekend Celebration with musicians, families, alumni and friends. Throughout this season we will celebrate the close to 3000 musicians who have been part of this important Rochester cultural institution.

The Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra (affiliated with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra in Rockford, IL) was pleased to receive the second place award for the American Prize in the Orchestral Performance in the Youth Orchestra Division. The award was announced in July. The RSYO is conducted by Mr. Daniel Black. The orchestra will feature violinist Olga Kaler, who will perform Bruch’s Violin Concerto in G Minor on the RSYO’s fall concert, December 11th at 3 p.m. Ms. Kaler is on the faculty at DePaul University in Chicago and will also conduct a Master Class for community string players on Sunday, November 14. For further information call 815.972.2939.

Celebrating its inaugural year with the 2010-2011 season, the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras are under the musical leadership of Gary Lewis, the Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. We currently have four ensembles comprised of more than 160 students. The creation of GBYO was the result of more than a year of planning and meetings between members of the two former youth orchestras of Boulder. Integral to the process was Executive Director Brian Jack, a member of the 2010 Essentials of Orchestra Management Seminar. For more information, please visit www.GreaterBoulderYO.org for more on the orchestra and its mission.

Carolina Youth Symphony, a regional youth orchestra consisting of 220 young people representing 2 states, 41 cities and 78 schools, will begin its 55th season with a concert October 17th at the Peace Concert Hall in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. The concert will feature all three orchestras and the North American premiere of a work by New Zealand composer john Psathas, Omnifenix for jazz tenor saxophone and drum set. Guest artists for the performance will be Furman University professors and acclaimed musicians Matt Olson-saxophone and Omar Carmenates-percussion.

The El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras (EPSYOs) invited world-renowned violinist Giora Schmidt to perform on their 2009-2010 Season Finale concert. In addition to Schmidt’s fine performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the EPSYOs’ top ensemble, he played a benefit recital to help fund the youth orchestra’s scholarship fund. The EPSYOs held our first ever summer session in July 2010. Over 75 students participated in a week of rehearsals and fun activities, culminating in a performance by the string orchestra and chamber orchestra. This fall the EPSYOs has commissioned Cedarville University (OH) composer Austin Jaquith to compose a new work “Kinesis,” to be performed at our Fall Concert “Emerging Sounds!” on November 7, 2010.

For 5,000 student alumni who’ve participated over the past 50 years, the Huntsville Youth Orchestra is a learning experience that leaves novice to accomplished players really pleased. For parents, it’s an investment in their child’s future: chances to instill discipline, develop social skills, and enhance their education. For students, HYO develops their artistic abilities and love of symphonic literature. Many become life-long volunteers, audiences and performers. Beyond orchestra performances, there’s a Chamber Music program, annual competitions, All-State Orchestra, Tennessee Valley Music Festival, and a Social Action through Music project. Students 6 to 18 are eligible to participate. Musicians are accepted anytime. Auditions are required to play in the top three of six orchestras. Contact HYO at 256-880-0622 or visit HuntsvilleYouthOrchestra.org to learn more about the orchestra and its mission.

The Youth Orchestra of Palm Beach County is offering enhanced opportunities for its members this season through collaborations with Lynn University and the Dublin Youth Orchestra. Under the artistic direction of Manuel Capote, YOPBC brings the advantages of having a world-class music conservatory in the community to the young musicians in its three orchestras. As part of the new music partnership program at Lynn University’s Conservatory of Music, conservatory students coach YOPBC string sectionals and play alongside YOPBC musicians during orchestra rehearsals. YOPBC musicians will also gain an international perspective on music performance when the Dublin Youth Orchestra travels to Florida from Ireland in February. Members of the Philharmonic Orchestra, YOPBC’s advanced group, look forward to a joint concert with their peers.

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra celebrates a quarter century with a 25th Season Alumni Reunion in May 2011. All past members (approximately 1,200) are invited to return to Severance Hall to celebrate 25 years of the ensemble, founded by former Cleveland Orchestra Resident Conductor Jahja Ling in 1986. The current ensemble comprises more than 100 students from more than 45 communities. The Youth Orchestra’s Music Director, James Feddeck, leads three concerts in 2010-11, including the May 22 world premiere of Matthew Smith’s Chasing the Moon, the winner of the Youth Orchestra’s composition competition. The Youth Orchestra holds a joint concert on March 6, 2011, with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus (celebrating its 20th season), performing movements of Carmina burana. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (216) 231-7352, or visit http://www.clevelandorchestrayouthorchestra.com.

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras were honored to receive two Illinois Council of Orchestras awards for excellence in the field of music at its Symphony Orchestra concert at Orchestra Hall in Chicago on May 16, 2010. The organization won the award for 2010 Youth Orchestra of the Year. Also, CYSO Board Chair John Schladweiler was presented with the award for Board President of the Year. On August 7 & 8, 2010, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras made its second appearance at Lollapalooza, an annual three-day musical festival in Chicago. During the 2010 festival, which set an attendance record of 240,000 people, CYSO students performed on the Kidzapalooza stage with Dan Zanes & Friends—a well-known group that creates music for families and people of all ages.

The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra opened its 54th season on Sunday, October 17, 2010, with a special guest appearance by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor, with the most advanced of its four orchestras, Symphonic, under the direction of Andrew Lane, Music Director of the FSYO. Also on the program were performances by the Overture Strings and Prelude Orchestras; as well as a side-by-side performance of selections from The Planets by the two older orchestras. This concert set an attendance record for the organization, with over 1,300 attendees. The Sunday concert was preceded by a Saturday Mendelssohn rehearsal, which was followed by a 45 minute question and answer period with Salerno-Sonnenberg. This once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of the students left them inspired and with a better understanding of what it takes to become dedicated adult musician.

Inspired by Maestro Helen Cha-Pyo’s programming of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and the Empire State Youth Orchestra’s goal of broadening our reach to include all types of musicians, listeners, and music, our November concert will also feature an art exhibit from Black Dimensions in Art, a coalition of African American artists from New York State’s Capital Region. This is a new type of connection for ESYO—joining forces with artists who work in another medium besides music, and fits within our 2010-2011 season theme of diversity from many perspectives. In other news, ESYO recently held a contest among local high school and college students to design a new logo. The winning design was from a student at The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY, and will be revealed this winter.

In 2010 the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra (SYSO) becomes the largest non-profit arts organization providing instructional service in the Seattle Public Schools. The program, entitled SYSO in the Schools and funded with support from a 2008 Wallace Foundation Excellence Award, provides expanded instrumental music instruction in dozens of Seattle area Public Schools, and hopes to foster the development of orchestral music in high schools where these programs currently do not exist. Before funding was only available for elementary school instrumental music instruction one-half day a week in most schools. SYSO in the Schools came to the rescue by providing trained teaching artists who not only work together with the instrumental music teacher during class-time, but also provide group lessons before and after school.

In August of 2010 the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra sent its twelve-member flute choir to the National Flute Association’s 2010 convention. Held in Anaheim California, it was a four-day event of performances by leading flutists in the industry, clinicians and ensembles from around the world. The GDYO flute choir was selected among hundreds of applicants to perform at one of the showcases for Flute Choirs. Not only were they one of the featured ensembles, they were also the only high school choir at the convention. Directed by Dr. Priscilla Holt and Mary Shinn, the ensemble performed Mozart’s Concerto in G major featuring three of the members on the famous cadenza, Visions and Dreams, an original work written for the choir by Anna Laura Page, Procession of the Sardar from “Caucasian Sketches” by M. Ippolitov-Ivanov and several other works. The thirty-minute performance was highly praised by convention attendees.

The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra created and launched a new after-school classical music education program call Tune Up Philly. This El Sistema inspired program has enrolled more than 80 elementary school students at St. Francis de Sales in West Philadelphia in September. Tune Up Philly's mission is to nurture urban children living in challenging social and economic conditions by keeping them engaged in successful music instruction during out-of-school hours. Tune Up Philly's twelve teaching artists will work to not only instruct music, but encourage and support social, cognitive and emotional development through this new initiative of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. "We believe that music education is a powerful vehicle for children to master skills that will enable them to acquire valuable tools for cooperative learning, teamwork, academic success and self esteem, said Louis Scaglione, President and Music Director of Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. Financial and instrument donations are being accepted. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with inquiries.

Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras is thrilled to be entering its 65th season. This season promises to bring many exciting opportunities for MCYO musicians and families. MCYO has been invited by The Youth Music of the World, The Lord Mayoralty of the City of Westminster and the London Mayors’ Association to perform in London at the “Silver Anniversary” annual New Year’s Day Festival. Philharmonic musicians will be performing in the December concert with the Whitman High School Chorus, while the Chamber Orchestra will be joined by MCYO alum and professional musician, Ken Shifrin, trombone. We are pleased to now offer flute and clarinet choirs as well as an opportunity for young string players to be involved in “prep” strings. In the March concert, the Philharmonic will feature the winner of our first Rachmaninov Piano Concerto. The season closes with the Chamber Strings & Chamber Orchestra performing May 25 and 26 at Carnegie Hall!

The San Luis Obispo Symphony began offering after-school string instruction in 1991 after most in-school programs had been eliminated. Now through Strings in the Schools and the Youth Symphony, we serve over 200 students each season. In an effort to unify our programs, we recently worked with Dr. Janine Riveire of Cal Poly Pomona and Dr. Robert Gillespie, co-author of the Essential Elements curriculum. “We wanted to create a more consistent program and provide a clear path for students from ‘Twinkle’ to Beethoven,” said Music Education Director Andrea Stoner. “We began by adopting a common method book, Essential Elements 2000, and then added a new program called Superbows, a first ensemble experience. We were very lucky to work with leaders in the field like Janine and Robert. It was a great experience and provided valuable expertise at a more affordable price than you might think!”