Celebrating and Supporting American Youth Orchestras
In this issue:
Note from the Chair
Dear Youth Orchestra Colleagues,
I hope the New Year of 2014 and the Year of the Horse finds your organizations humming along with renewed vigor and purpose. Thank you for everything that you do to offer educational and artistic experiences for young people in your community.
The Youth Orchestra Board has met through conference calls and in person at the League’s Mid- Winter sessions recently held in New York, and planning is underway for this year’s annual conference in Seattle, WA, June 4th – 6th, 2014. The YOD goals for our sector this year are:
- Provide initiatives which enhance the level of support available to youth orchestras, namely through professional development (e.g. peer calls, Mid-Winter Meeting and National Conference.)
Build out content for peer calls, professional development meetings, identify potential speakers and presenters (both within and outside of the field).
- Review current statistical data and initiate possible research study on youth orchestras in the US.
Review current statistical data available from the League’s data analysis office. Identify areas for improvement/tweaking. Develop a case statement for a national level study that will benefit the entire field.
- Advocate for and build an effective case for the public value of youth orchestras.
With the end goal of creating a case statement, develop a message framework and key talking points that the youth orchestra constituency can use to broaden support and advocate the value of music education.
- Professional Development committee Steven Murray, Chair
- Data and Research Committee Dan Petersen, Chair
- Public Value & Advocacy Committee Megen Balda, Chair
There was excellent discussion and spirited participation at the YOD sessions at Mid-Winter conference in NYC in January, and I look forward to that energy and enthusiasm carrying over into the sessions in Seattle. It’s not too early to think about a trip to Seattle in June - please mark your calendars and plan to join your colleagues, get the latest information from the field and celebrate the great work of youth orchestras and the League. I hope to see you in Seattle!
Chair, Youth Orchestra Division, League of American Orchestras
Executive Director, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras
Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia
Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia and Virginia Children's Chorus present a world premier of nationally renowned composer Adolphus Hailstork's "The Gift of the Magi," for youth orchestra and children's chorus. Sunday, December 22, 7pm, at the TCC Roper Performing Arts Center in downtown Norfolk.
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras is excited about its newest endeavor, a youth steel orchestra program. CYSO’s Steel Orchestra program has been created to provide access to music education for students who may have no prior experience on an instrument. This full year program introduces students ages 10-18 to music through the unique and easy to learn percussion instrument - the steelpan (or steel drum). Rehearsals focus on basic music theory, technique, musicianship, building a diverse repertoire and learning about calypso - the traditional music of Trinidad and Tobago - as well as other music styles ranging from classical to jazz.
On December 14, the inaugural CYSO Steel Orchestras concert featured each of CYSO's three steel ensembles performing a range of music for a full concert hall. At the end of the free concert, the audience members joined the musicians on stage for a fun and engaging percussion jam session.
Connecticut Youth Symphony
On October 13 and 14, The Hartt School Community Division’s (HCD) Connecticut Youth Symphony (CYS) joined the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (HSO) for its 70th Anniversary Opening Weekend. CYS musicians performed Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and Smetana’s Overture to The Bartered Bride alongside HSO members under the direction of Carolyn Kuan. Jeffrey Johnson of the Hartford Courant noted “The Connecticut Youth Symphony, prepared by their music director Daniel D'Addio, did a wonderful job with the agile strings parts, especially the exposed second violins. It was inspiring to hear these young musicians. They are on the very edge of great things.” The program also featured Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3, played on the Bushnell’s historic, Hartford-made Austin pipe organ and a composition for pipa – a Chinese lute – played by virtuoso Wu Man, recently named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year.
Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
We are excited to announce an upcoming year-long project to create a collaborative, crowd-sourced composition: The New4Seasons. The Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra is teaming up with Cedarville (OH) University composer, Austin Jaquith, to solicit original melodies from pre-college students to create this new work. The project will begin in January 2014, and budding young composers will submit original melodies to the project via YouTube. Selection of melodies will be completed in May, and over the summer composition students from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Cedarville University and the University of Dayton will orchestrate a new five-movement composition (one for each season of the year, plus an "overture") based on the selected melodies. The New4Seasons will be premiered at the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra concert in December 2014. Full details and an application form are available here.
Empire State Youth Orchestras
Empire State Youth Orchestras (ESYO) appointed new Executive Director Rebecca Calos on Oct. 1. Ms. Calos previously worked for the Hawn Foundation and Brown School. Almost 1500 school children enjoyed ESYO’s annual Young People’s Concert which featured Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, with full narration, and excerpts from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. The narrator and “Reporter Kent Clark,” (wearing a Superman t-shirt) educated the children about the impact of freedom (or lack thereof) upon the composers’ compositions. In Nov., the Tech Valley Nonprofit Business Council recognized ESYO as a “Non-Profit of the Year” for exemplary contribution to the vitality of the Capital Region of New York State. Compositions and performances by three ESYO alums were featured in this year’s Melodies of Christmas concerts. ESYO’s flagship orchestra has performed in these concerts for 33 years, helping to raise $7 million for a childhood cancer center.
Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra
The FSYO is overjoyed with the successful start of its new program, Sing-Song, String Along. Made possible by TD Bank, Sing-Song, String Along was developed for elementary school children and their families as an immersive education program that focuses on nurturing a love for music and teaching essential developmental skills.
Hawaii Youth Symphony
Hawaii Youth Symphony will perform three concerts at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on February 9-10, 2014. Maestro Henry Miyamura will conduct the 90-member Youth Symphony I, comprised of high school students from three islands, along with piano soloist Jonathan Korth. The two concerts on February 10 are designed as educational services and align with Hawaii fine arts standards. Learn more about HYS at HiYouthSymphony.org.
InterSchool Orchestras of New York
InterSchool Orchestras of New York is pleased to announce that Young Concert Artists’ violinist Bella Hristova will perform as soloist with its top orchestra, the ISO Symphony, in Saint-Saëns’ “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” on Wednesday, January 22, at 7:00 p.m. at the Julia Richman Education Complex, 317 East 67th Street in New York City. Also on the Symphony’s program will be Hindemith’s “Symphonic Metamorphoses,” Bernstein’s Overture to Candide, and other selections. ISO’s Carnegie Hill Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, and ISO Flutes will complete the program. In addition to the concert, Ms. Hristova will conduct a masterclass with ISO Symphony violinists on January 14 made possible by Young Concert Artists’ Annaliese Soros Educational Residency Program.
Knoxville Symphony Orchestra/Youth Orchestra
The Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra is celebrating its 40th Anniversary Season during three concerts in 2014! The official Celebration Concert will take place on February 17, 2014 with the top three orchestras collaborating on Vaughn Williams' Concerto Grosso. Winners of the 2013-2014 KSYO Concerto Competition will be featured with the top orchestra on February 23 and this orchestra will present the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Bella Hristova on May 5, 2014.
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
Wisconsin’s First Lady Tonette Walker personally invited Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra musicians to perform for an evening reception as part of the culminating events of the 2013 National Governors Association’s 105th Summer Meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Held at the Rotary Amphitheater at Discovery World Museum, on Milwaukee’s lakefront, Saturday, August 3, 2013, MYSO was honored to perform for the nation’s governors and their families. MYSO Artistic Director Carter Simmons conducted an orchestra of 59 of MYSO’s young musicians ages 13-18, from its internationally acclaimed Senior Symphony, in a patriotic performance set to fireworks. In honor of the state’s first lady, Mr. Simmons and the orchestra began with Leroy Anderson’s Belle of the Ball. The 30-minute program also included the Richard Rodgers/Robert Russell Bennett Overture to “Oklahoma,” Morton Gould’s American Salute, Aaron Copland’s Variations on a Shaker Melody and Hoe Down from “Rodeo.” The program concluded with Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever.
National Youth Orchestra of Iraq
We, the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, are planning to hold our summer camp in the US next August, performing in New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC. We need donations to make this dream come true for this historic visit of reconciliation and cultural outreach. Visit nyoiraq.com to find out more.
Oklahoma Youth Orchestra
The Oklahoma Youth Orchestra performed Jerod Tate's "Spider Brings Fire" for the Oklahoma State of Creativity Forum on November 19, 2013 in the Civic Center Music Hall conducted by Matthew Mailman. The concert was the capstone performance of the forum with over 1000 in attendance.
San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory
San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) was one of only two youth symphonies, to be awarded a 2013-14 Getty Education and Community Investment Grant from League of American Orchestras, alongside orchestras such as LA Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras. This $15,000 grant was awarded to develop SDYS' Community Opus Project, and is in recognition of the innovative dedication SDYS has to increasing its relevance to the community. SDYS launched the Community Opus Project in 2010 as a strategy to demonstrate the many benefits of music education, build support for music in the community, and convince school districts to provide music as part of students' regular curriculum. It was so successful that within only three years, the Chula Vista Elementary School District committed to providing music education to all students and, with the assistance of SDYS, has begun to phase in-school day music.
Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras
Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras holds its fourth annual Super String Saturday on January 26, 2014. This free community event is open to the students and families of the schools which are part of the Southwest Strings Project – a partnership program with Seattle Public Schools, which provides highly trained professional musicians as “coaches” for beginning string students in an undeserved community. Super String Saturday begins with a mini-concert performed by Seattle Youth Symphony, one of America’s premier youth orchestras. Then violin, viola, cello and bass students participate in instrument technique clinics led by Youth Symphony musicians; observe a chamber music demonstration; and perform “side-by-side” with the Youth Symphony musicians, providing lots of opportunities for musical mentoring! School teachers and SYSO coaches are also on hand to talk with parents about how to best support their young musicians.
Virtuosi of Houston
Virtuosi of Houston, a Young Artists Chamber Orchestra, performed their Opening Night Concert on December 7, 2013. The musicians and their conductors performed rarely heard works including Beethoven’s Consecration of the House Overture, Hindemith’s Suite of French Dances, Mozart’s Paris Overture, and Saint-Saëns’ unnumbered Symphony in A Major. The music centered on a French theme as Virtuosi announced its collaboration with the Texan French Alliance for the Arts for an exchange program. In their 19th Season, Virtuosi musicians will join with local conservatory students for a week of master classes, rehearsals, and performances in France. In the 20th Season, the French students will travel to Houston. You can support Virtuosi of Houston by donating to our Power2Give Campaign. This will help provide mid-rehearsal meals to our students. Anyone may make a donation, anywhere in the country. Just go to power2give.org and select Hungry! Hungry! Young Musicians.
Youth Symphony of Kansas City
All four orchestras of the Youth Symphony of Kansas City performed an arena-style Open House Concert at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. Each orchestra performed separately and together in a colossal combined orchestra of 340 musicians. Repertoire highlights included Mozart’s Titus Overture, Saint-Saëns' Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet overture-fantasy and Smetana’s “Three Dances” from The Bartered Bride. The combined orchestra performed an arrangement of Leroy Anderson’s holiday favorite Sleigh Ride. The 3,500 seat auditorium, which opened in 1925, has a varied and interesting history. In the 1960s and 1970s, popular recording artists including Grateful Dead, KISS, Pink Floyd and REO Speedwagon performed there. Additionally, country singer Patsy Cline’s last public performance took place at the venue, just days prior to the airplane crash which took her life. Today the hall is primarily used for wrestling matches, academic convocations and graduation ceremonies.
Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra
Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra will host its first annual Alumni Concert, at The Grove at Mead Garden on Sunday, December 22nd, 4 pm. This long-awaited event will feature 90 of FSYO’s past musicians, with representation from the majority of its 57-year span. Alumni are coming in from all over the country, some even as far as Japan, to participate in what is sure to be an evening to remember! The program will include some FSYO Holiday staples such as “Sleigh Ride” and some traditional holiday pieces, such as movements from the Nutcracker Suite. Most significantly, the program will feature the worldwide debut of the piece “Solstice”. This prominence of this debut is amplified as FSYO Alumnus and current conductor, John Dupuis, composed the piece for this event.
Oklahoma Youth Orchestra
Matthew Mailman is in his 19th year as Professor of Conducting in the Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University. He conducted the opera "Street Scene" by Kurt Weill in November 2013 at OCU and conducted the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra performing Jerod Tate's "Spider Brings Fire" for the Oklahoma State of Creativity Forum on November 19, 2013 in the Civic Center Music Hall. The concert was the capstone performance of the forum with over 1000 in attendance. He will present a conducting clinic at the Missouri Music Educators Association annual convention in January 2014, and he will conduct the opera "Our Town" by Ned Rorem in February 2014.
News and Resources
• The League, in partnership with 12 national arts and education organizations, has released Arts Education for America's Students, A Shared Endeavor, a statement outlining the importance of high-quality arts education and those who provide it to students. The document can help to prompt local dialogue and engagement with community leaders about how students in your community access arts education.
• National standards for arts education are undergoing revision and nearing completion. A public review and comment process on the latest draft standards for what students should know and be able to do in dance, media arts, music, theater, and the visual arts will open February 14 and close February 28. Visit the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards site for complete details.
• Extraordinary out-of-school and afterschool programs that make a difference in the lives of young people are annually recognized by 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. Applications for the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are due on February 10.