Youth Ensembles

National Youth Orchestra of the USA

Introduction

Each summer, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute brings together 120 of the brightest young musicians, aged 16-19, from across the United States to form the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA).  Following a comprehensive audition process and a two-week training residency at Purchase College, State University of New York, with a faculty made-up of principal players from top American orchestras, these remarkable teenagers embark on a tour to some of the great music capitals of the world, serving as dynamic musical ambassadors.

Launched in summer 2013 to great critical acclaim, the first-ever NYO-USA presented concerts with famed conductor Valery Gergiev and renowned violinist Joshua Bell for enthusiastic audiences in Washington DC; Moscow and St Petersburg; and at the BBC Proms, London.  The New York Times remarked: “The performance exuded vitality and confidence.”  The 2014 orchestra, led by dynamic American conductor David Robertson with virtuoso violinist Gil Shaham – made its debut at Carnegie Hall, New York, followed by a coast-to-coast US tour.

In 2015, NYO-USA embarked on an historic tour of China, collaborating with conductor Charles Dutoit and pianist YUNDI on a programme to include music by Beethoven and Berlioz, plus a new work by Tan Dun commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the orchestra.   After a concert at Carnegie Hall, the tour saw the NYO-USA performing at major arts centres in Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Suzhou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

2016 saw the NYO return to Europe with Valery Gergiev and the 2017 tour will bring the orchestra to Latin America for the first time.


Introduction

Each summer, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute brings together 120 of the brightest young musicians, aged 16-19, from across the United States to form the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA).  Following a comprehensive audition process and a two-week training residency at Purchase College, State University of New York, with a faculty made-up of principal players from top American orchestras, these remarkable teenagers embark on a tour to some of the great music capitals of the world, serving as dynamic musical ambassadors.

Launched in summer 2013 to great critical acclaim, the first-ever NYO-USA presented concerts with famed conductor Valery Gergiev and renowned violinist Joshua Bell for enthusiastic audiences in Washington DC; Moscow and St Petersburg; and at the BBC Proms, London.  The New York Times remarked: “The performance exuded vitality and confidence.”  The 2014 orchestra, led by dynamic American conductor David Robertson with virtuoso violinist Gil Shaham – made its debut at Carnegie Hall, New York, followed by a coast-to-coast US tour.

In 2015, NYO-USA embarked on an historic tour of China, collaborating with conductor Charles Dutoit and pianist YUNDI on a programme to include music by Beethoven and Berlioz, plus a new work by Tan Dun commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the orchestra.   After a concert at Carnegie Hall, the tour saw the NYO-USA performing at major arts centres in Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Suzhou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

2016 saw the NYO return to Europe with Valery Gergiev and the 2017 tour will bring the orchestra to Latin America for the first time.

Online Performances

 

Press

 
  • 12 Jul 15 Anthony Tommasini Review: National Youth Orchestra Impresses With ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ at Carnegie Hall
    Carnegie Hall
    More info  

    “The Swiss-born conductor Charles Dutoit, a major maestro with a special affinity for French repertory, has conducted Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” with many of the world’s great orchestras. But it’s hard to imagine he has ever worked with more eager, attentive players as he had on Saturday night at Carnegie Hall when he concluded a concert by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America with a colorful, probing account of that demanding staple.

    “The orchestra, a training program founded and run by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, began in 2013. This summer, it selected 110 gifted instrumentalists between the ages of 16 and 19 from American high schools and colleges in 37 states and brought them to Purchase College — part of the State University of New York — for two weeks of extensive work. The focal point was the preparation of Saturday’s concert. It opened with a new piece by Tan Dun, then offered the pianist Yundi as soloist in Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto.

    “The “Symphonie Fantastique” was the highlight and, surely, a high point in the performing lives of these dedicated student musicians. From the richness of the sound and the dexterity of execution, it was clear that Mr. Dutoit had an impressively talented roster of young players palpably inspired by the chance to perform this visionary 1830 piece under his guidance.

    “This truly fantastical symphony is the portrait of a musician obsessively in love with an unattainable woman. In a fit of despair he takes opium; the piece can be heard as depicting his successive hallucinations. The first movement, “Daydreams, Passions,” sets the mood. Under Mr. Dutoit’s coaxing, the music unfolded at first in clear phrases, as if the
    protagonist was turning over thoughts in his mind. When things are jolted by bursts of ardor, the players, glued to Mr. Dutoit, vividly conveyed the music’s frightening intensity and blazing colors.

    “During the second movement, “A Ball,” a swirling, waltzing dance, Mr. Dutoit kept the tempo reined in just enough to allow curious inner details to come through. The slow movement, “In the Meadows,” had uncommon nobility. The “March to the Scaffold,” in which the tormented lover imagines himself being led to execution for killing his beloved, began stealthily, as the orchestra crept into the macabre, mysterious music, then built to a slashing frenzy. In the finale, “Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath,” these players brought alive Berlioz’s dizzying, nasal-toned craziness. Yet under Mr. Dutoit, the performance never became obvious or cinematic. Episodes of intricate counterpoint were impressively
    transparent.

    “The orchestra is taking this program to China for a two-week, seven-city tour. So it made sense to open with a commissioned work by the Chinese-born Mr. Tan. His 11-minute Passacaglia, “Secret of Wind and Birds,” explores the “wonder of nature and a dream of the future,” as the composer explains in a note. That’s a heavy lift for a short piece.
    Still, as with many of Mr. Tan’s works, this one teems with imagination and enticing sounds.

    “At a time when mobile phones are the bane of concert life, Mr. Tan turns these devices into essential instruments. He made a recording of birdcalls played on traditional Chinese instruments and formatted the file for cellphones. At crucial moments during the piece, the players of the orchestra (and preselected audience members) activated their phones
    to create “a poetic forest of digital birds,” in the composer’s words, a dense yet delicate texture of tweets and chirps. During other passages the players sang, hummed, whistled and snapped their fingers. Mr. Tan, 57, seemed delighted when he took a bow onstage, dressed in solidarity with the players, who wear matching black sports coats and red tight
    jeans.

    “Yundi, 32, who made his name with brilliantly virtuosic and thoughtful accounts of Chopin, Liszt and Prokofiev, has been moving slowly intoclassical repertory. His performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, though, was a disappointment. He played with flair, vitality and big sound. But the majestic depths of the piece escaped him. In passages of improvisatory sweep, he went too far, playing with murky textures and mindless abandon. Even the orchestra sounded indistinct and thick.

    “Still, the concert was another milestone for this essential training program. The tour in China is reportedly sold out.”
    National Youth Orchestra Impresses With ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ at Carnegie Hall

  • 22 Jul 15 Chen Jie, China Daily Resonating Across the World
    NYO-USA in China
    More info  

    “A group of young American musicians is touring China. For many, it’s a homecoming. Chen Jie reports.

    “Wang Yibiao seems jetlagged in the Grand Hyatt Beijing’s lobby at 6pm, after his 14-hour flight from New York. But the 17-year-old flutist says he’s thrilled to tour with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America because it’s his first time to perform in his
    homeland.

    “His sentiment is shared by NYO-USA percussionist Karen Dai, who also looks forward to playing for relatives in her motherland. The 17-year-old moved to the United States when she was 10 months old.

    The NYO-USA is a training program founded in 2013 by Carnegie Hall through its educational arm, the Weill Music Institute.”

    Read the full article here.

     

     

     

  • 18 Jul 17 James R. Oestreich Article: In These Orchestras, Youth Meets Musical Beauty
    Carnegie Hall
    More info  

    After a stop-and-go drive from New York City to East Stroudsburg, Pa., some 75 miles northwest, on a sleepy morning last week, I wasn’t necessarily expecting magic. But a small bit happened in a nondescript classroom at East Stroudsburg University, during a sectional rehearsal of the four oboists of the newly formed National Youth Orchestra of China.

    Led by Liang Wang, the principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic, three players worked through the first movement of Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony, which the orchestra – 105 musicians, ages 14 to 21 – will perform in its debut concert on Saturday evening at Carnegie Hall. The fourth player, Ming Liu, sat silently, holding an English horn, a larger, lower-range relative of the oboe, with a rounded bell.

    Then came the second-movement Largo, with its vaunted English horn solo, the tune that William Arms Fisher turned into the song “Goin’ Home,” often mistaken for a pre-existing spiritual. Ms. Liu, 19, an utterly disarming presence in her Snoopy T-shirt, played the melody as beautifully and soulfully as I have ever heard it.

    Ms Liu, who is enrolled at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, works regularly with Mr Wang. He urged her on here to greater expressivity, and even he seemed enthralled by the results.

    Read the full article here.