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)
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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”