News / Arts & Entertainment

US National Youth Orchestra Takes Top Talent on Tour

Percussionist Micheal Barnes, a member of the 2013 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America rehearses with the orchestra at SUNY Purchase. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)
Percussionist Micheal Barnes, a member of the 2013 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America rehearses with the orchestra at SUNY Purchase. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)
TEXT SIZE - +
— Among the many options for summer activities for youngsters in the United States are music camps. Some are hosted by colleges, some by music schools, and the newest was created by New York’s renowned concert venue, Carnegie Hall.

First US National Youth Orchestra Takes Top Talent on Tour
First US National Youth Orchestra Takes Top Talent on Touri
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

In July, 120 teenagers from 42 states - some of the best young musicians in the country - gathered on the campus of Purchase College, outside of New York City, to create the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.  
 
They were welcomed by Clive Gillinson, executive director of Carnegie Hall, the driving force behind the new orchestra. He recalls playing cello in Great Britain's National Youth Orchestra as a highlight of his life. South Africa, Germany, Venezuela, Iraq, Malaysia and dozens of other countries have national youth orchestras, and when he became executive director of Carnegie Hall in 2005, Gillinson couldn’t believe the United States did not have one.
 
Trombonist Skye Dearborn (center), a member of the 2013 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America rehearses at SUNY Purchase. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)Trombonist Skye Dearborn (center), a member of the 2013 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America rehearses at SUNY Purchase. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)
x
Trombonist Skye Dearborn (center), a member of the 2013 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America rehearses at SUNY Purchase. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)
Trombonist Skye Dearborn (center), a member of the 2013 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America rehearses at SUNY Purchase. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)
"So I thought there needed to be [one]," he said. "I think every country needs one, in terms of inspiring, you know, the best students inspiring each other."  
 
So Gillinson and Carnegie’s staff set out to find the finest musicians in the country, from ages 16 to 19, and began raising millions of dollars to bring the project to fruition.
 
"There were a number of things that we felt were important.," he stressed. "One of them was that it should be free to all the students participating, because we thought it should be something where anybody can take part, not that if you don’t have enough money, you can’t.  So, obviously, that makes it more expensive." 
 
It all came together over the past two years. Principal players from major U.S. symphony orchestras agreed to come to Purchase to coach the members of the various instrument sections, international tour dates were lined up, and violinist Joshua Bell signed on as soloist.
 
Carrie Dennis, Principal Viola with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, helps NYO-USA violist Mya Greene with her hand position. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)Carrie Dennis, Principal Viola with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, helps NYO-USA violist Mya Greene with her hand position. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)
x
Carrie Dennis, Principal Viola with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, helps NYO-USA violist Mya Greene with her hand position. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)
Carrie Dennis, Principal Viola with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, helps NYO-USA violist Mya Greene with her hand position. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)
He said performing with the young musicians was a different experience than playing with a great professional orchestra. "For them, it’s not a job yet. You know, music is not a job yet.  It’s still all excitement and joy." He added with a laugh, "It should be that way for professional orchestras, too, but it’s not always!"   
 
Excitement certainly describes Skye Dearborn’s reaction when the 17-year-old trombone player from South Dakota learned she was accepted into the orchestra. "It blew my mind - the first rehearsal, I was speechless.  I feel so privileged to play with these kids who are, you know, I feel like half of them are going to Juilliard and Harvard and Princeton, Yale.  And it’s really awesome to be surrounded by the talent, because I feel like I’m absorbing it, in a way." 
 
 Violist Mya Greene, 16, compared working with University of Maryland conductor James Ross in rehearsal with playing in youth orchestras in her hometown, Los Angeles. "You know, sometimes it can be overwhelming - just drilling technique, getting people to just even, like, have some basic concept of the rhythm.  But here it was like the opposite, it was just, basically, it’s like he had assumed that we’d already have the canvas and he was gonna start painting on it."  
 
NYO-USA Rehearsals with Valery Gergiev at SUNY Purchase. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)NYO-USA Rehearsals with Valery Gergiev at SUNY Purchase. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)
x
NYO-USA Rehearsals with Valery Gergiev at SUNY Purchase. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)
NYO-USA Rehearsals with Valery Gergiev at SUNY Purchase. (Photo courtesy Chris Lee)
The orchestra spent over a week preparing for the arrival of Russian conductor Valery Gergiev. Micheal Barnes, a 19-year-old percussionist from Oklahoma was overwhelmed by the maestro's first rehearsal with the teens. "The energy that he brings to the stage: wow!" he said. "I like that he doesn’t conduct with a baton.  He’s not very flashy or showy about his conducting. Sometimes it’s even hard to find the downbeat, but it makes you really hang on to the music more."
 
After two weeks of rehearsing, getting to know each other, and becoming good friends, the young musicians performed their first concert together as an orchestra and got several standing ovations.
 
Barnes noticed a difference from the podium during the performance. "Maestro Gergiev really - wow, he just totally changed when he started conducting the real thing.  He just brought all of the stops out.  And it was just great.  I think we truly became the National Youth Orchestra tonight."  
 
After a performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the National Youth Orchestra flew to Russia, for concerts at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg. The tour ends in London, with a televised performance at the Royal Albert Hall.  And next year, a completely new National Youth Orchestra will tour the United States. 

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Saxophonist Craig Handy has an exciting new band called 2nd Line Smith, which combines the organ-jazz repertoire of Jimmy Smith with the “second line” rhythms of New Orleans parade music. Craig Handy joins "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten at Washington’s Bohemian Caverns jazz club to talk about the music and perform with the band.