NYYS Factbook


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New York Youth Symphony Factbook

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CONTENTS 3 4 5 6 ABOUT US OUR MISSION HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FIRST 50 YEARS 2013/14 SEASON CALENDAR 7-11 PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS 12 13 FIRST MUSIC FIRST ART 14-15 IN THE COMMUNITY 16-17 ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES 18 19 20 21 BOARD OF TRUSTEES FINANCIAL SUPPORT NEXT GENERATION FUND 2013/14 ANNUAL FUND The programs of the New York Youth Symphony are made possible by the support of: New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


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“Helluva band, helluva program!” – Phil Woods, saxophone ABOUT US musicians invaluable opportunities to train for professional careers and prepare for life while making pivotal decisions about their future. The educational model uses public performance as the crucible to motivate students in their learning process as well as in their application of musical skills and presentation. In addition, the NYYS provides guidance on applying to schools, careers in the arts, audience engagement, and physical health. Critically acclaimed concerts are given for more than 8,500 people in Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Queens College, Weill Recital Hall, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The performances offer affordable, high-quality opportunities for a wide range of concert-goers, including senior citizens, students, disadvantaged families, and people with disabilities. An extensive outreach program offers more than 2,500 complimentary tickets annually. T he New York Youth Symphony (NYYS) was founded in 1963 as the Youth Orchestra of New York. Its first performance at Carnegie Hall included music by Wagner and Britten performed by 80 young musicians, as well as the Beethoven Violin Concerto featuring a young Israeli violinist, Itzhak Perlman. Now in its 51st season, the NYYS is heralded as a leader in music education, performance, and commissioning in the metropolitan area. It is nationally recognized for innovative programs in orchestral training, conducting, chamber music, jazz, and composition, all of which are tuition-free made possible by over $1 million dollars in scholarships. More than 220 musicians ages 12-22 enroll through merit-based auditions each fall and participate in its high-impact programs. The NYYS is proud to provide teen- and college-age


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“. . . projects like the New York Youth Symphony . . . offer training and experience beyond what even the most arts-conscious schools can provide.” –The New York Times OUR MISSION To educate and inspire young musicians through exceptional ensemble training and performance opportunities. Core Values • We value the excellence of our teaching and mentoring. • We encourage personal development, creativity, selfdiscipline, and working well with others. • • • No one is to be excluded on the basis of ability to pay. We aspire to a culture of fairness and mutual respect. We expect a strong commitment from all members of the NYYS community—musicians, teachers, staff, and Trustees. • We value the special relationship between our musicians and their audiences. • We strive to be an inclusive organization reflecting the diversity of, and actively reaching out to, the greater New York metropolitan community. • We value performances in prominent venues. 2013/14 Statistics: Total applications Total Enrollment Acceptance rate Average age School Information College/University/Conservatory Public Junior/Senior High School Private Junior/Senior High School Home Schooled Other/Do Not Attend 2013/14 Budget 64 120 28 4 6 $1million+ 338 222 66% 16 ½


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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FIRST 50 YEARS The Youth Symphony Orchestra of New York (now the New York Youth Symphony) is founded in the spring of 1963. 1963 December 1, 1963: The Debut Concert, under the baton of David Epstein, features violinist Itzhak Perlman. “They had the life that is expected of young people. They also had a technical expertise that was almost frightening from instrumentalists in the 12-to-21 age bracket.” (New York Times, 12/16/68) “[Music Director Kenneth] Jean . . . conducts with a kind of genius and trains his teenage musicians with the intelligence of an old-timer. The [Youth Symphony Orchestra] is one of the best orchestras [of its kind].” (Daily News, 12/16/74) December 10, 1966: Leonard Slatkin makes his debut as Music Director. His brother, Fred Zlotkin, plays principal cello in the orchestra. Mayor Edward I. Koch proclaims January 27, l980, Youth Symphony Orchestra Day “in recognition of the outstanding contributions it has made to the city.” 1985/86: The NYYS wins First Prize in the Youth Orchestra Division of the American Symphony Orchestra League ASCAP Awards. 1995: The Theodore L. Kesselman Award for Arts Education is established to recognize significant dedication by an individual or institution making outstanding contributions in nurturing young people in the arts. 1998/99: The Robert L. Poster Apprentice Conducting Program is launched under Music Director Mischa Santora. 2000/01: The Making Score (now “Composition”) program is launched under the direction of Derek Bermel. “You can be in a Ph.D. program in composition and not be challenged like this.” (Symphony magazine: SepOct 2004) 2004: The NYYS receives the Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming under Music Director Paul Haas (the first and only time the award has been presented to a youth orchestra). 2010/11: Partnerships are created with Concerts in Motion, the Harmony Program, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Lucy Moses School of the Kaufman Cultural Center. 1970 1980 1981/82: The Chamber Music Players (now “Chamber Music Program”) is launched under the direction of clarinetist Alan Kay. 1984: The First Music program is launched by Music Director David Alan Miller and Executive Director Barry Goldberg to commission young American composers to write new works for world première with the orchestra. (It has since expanded to include works for jazz and chamber music ensembles.) 1990 1990/91: BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) awards the NYYS a Special Citation for Excellence in Performance and Education. February 19, 1995: NYYS is featured on WQXR-FM as part of “McGraw-Hill’s Young Artists Showcase” with pianist Gary Graffman. 1999/2000: The NYYS is the first youth orchestra chosen to be presented on a regular Carnegie Hall series in a Family Concert entitled “Feelings.” 2002/03: Jazz Band Classic (now NYYS Jazz) is launched with the appointment of Ryan Keberle as its first Director. 2007/08: The “Get-On Music” project is created to bring disadvantaged youths to NYYS performances, acknowledging participation during the season with the Starlight/Starbright Children’s Foundation and the Paul Robeson High School in Brooklyn. 2012/13: Joshua Gersen is appointed the 16th Music Director. The NYYS celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season. 2000 2010 2013


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2014/15 SEASON CALENDAR Orchestra Joshua Gersen, Music Director Season Opening Concert November 9, 2014, 5 pm: United Palace, Washington Heights November 23, 2014, 2 pm: Carnegie Hall Conrad Tao, piano Beethoven: Egmont Overture Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, op. 43 Cindy Giron: Nelumbo (world premiere) Stravinsky: Firebird Suite Jazz Matt Holman, Director Art of the Arrangement December 8, 2014, 7:30 & 9:30 pm Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center Lew Tabackin, saxophone/flute For Strayhorn March 16, 2015, 7:30 & 9:30 pm Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center Luis Bonilla, trombone Celestial Swing! The McCrindle Concert February 22, 2015, 5 pm: United Palace, Washington Heights March 8, 2015, 2 pm: Carnegie Hall Elena Urioste, violin Jonas Tarm: Marsh U Nebuttya (world premiere) Beethoven: Violin Concerto, op. 61 Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, op. 35 May 18, 2015, 7:30 pm The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center Jane Monheit, vocalist Chamber Music Lisa Tipton, Director Festival Evenings I & II April 27 & 28, 2015, 7:30 pm Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space The Spring Concert May 3, 2015, 5 pm: United Palace, Washington Heights May 24, 2015, 2 pm: Carnegie Hall New York Choral Society Rossini: Overture to La Gazza Ladra Molly Joyce: Fresh (world premiere) Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, op. 125 An Evening Among Friends with Paul Neubauer, viola May 4, 2015, 7:30 pm Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall Composition Kyle Blaha, Director Composition Date: 2015! May 15, 2015, 7:30 pm Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space


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“The New York Youth Symphony ... often gets compared to professional orchestras, and one can hear why. Its music making is alive and full; its players are thoroughly prepared and very able ... they have a freshness and a drive that seasoned ensembles are going to rediscover only very occasionally.” –The New York Times ORCHESTRA Under the direction of Joshua Gersen, the 100-player ensemble is recognized as one of the finest youth orchestras in the nation. Compared often to professional orchestras and praised by The New York Times for its “youthful fire,” the Orchestra performs at Carnegie Hall three times each season. Every performance also features a world premiere by an emerging American composer, commissioned by the NYYS’s First Music program. In 2014/15 the orchestra will begin performing free community outreach concerts at the United Palace in Washington Heights, NY. The orchestra rehearses weekly at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music and receives additional coaching from members of the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. The careers of world-renowned conductors, musicians, and composers have been propelled by their early experiences with the New York Youth Symphony. Our former music directors and alumni include Leonard Slatkin (Detroit Symphony Orchestra), Myung-Whun Chung (Seoul Philharmonic), David Alan Miller (Albany Symphony Orchestra), Miguel Harth-Bedoya (Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra), Marin Alsop (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), Gary Levinson (Dallas Symphony), Lawrence Dutton (Emerson Quartet), Kenneth Mirkin (New York Philharmonic), Joel Smirnoff (Juilliard String Quartet), among many others.


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“... truly a wonderful program for students of chamber music, exceptionally important to a student’s growth as a musician as well as a human being.” – André Watts, pianist CHAMBER MUSIC The Chamber Music Program, led by Director Lisa Tipton, offers opportunities for students to enhance their musical abilities, improve their performance confidence, and develop interpersonal skills within small group settings. The program welcomes 80-90 players each season and places them in 20-25 ensembles of various sizes, including trios, quartets, and more. Groups are coached by professionals from throughout the city and participate in master classes given by members of the Shanghai, Juilliard, and Orion quartets, and members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Performances take place each spring at the National Arts Club, Symphony Space, and Weill Hall. The final performance at Weill Hall includes the world premiere of a First Music commission and a side-by-side performance with a professional mentor. Previous mentors have included Daniel Phillips, Wolfram Koessel, and Edward Arron. “One of my most memorable experiences at NYYS was working with composer Eric Nathan….what had started out as a strange and unfamiliar work became an old friend, a piece that my group could perform with confidence and conviction.” – Issei Herr, 18, cello


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"My experience with the New York Youth Symphony Jazz is nothing short of fantastic, and more than anything, inspiring." – LoWood, 21, baritone saxophone JAZZ The New York Youth Symphony’s Jazz Band, under the direction of Matt Holman, is a 17-member ensemble dedicated to studying, rehearsing, and performing classic big band jazz music. Modeled on the bands of the 1930s and 1940s, the Jazz program preserves this heritage while incorporating it into the current and emerging styles that define the genre for the present generation. Now in its 12th season, students from the Jazz program have been fortunate to perform with featured soloists including Ann Hampton Callaway, Victor Goines, Wycliffe Gordon, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Joe Locke, Joe Lovano, Suzanne Morrison, Eric Reed, Gary Smulyan, Lew Soloff, Steve Turre, Warren Vaché, Scott Wendholt, and Frank Wess. Performances take place in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and the Appel (formerly Allen) Room. “Playing at the Allen Room was like something out of a dream.” – Ryan Park Chan, 17, saxophone Jazz Board of Advisors Gary Giddins Victor Goines Jimmy Heath Ryan Keberle Joe Locke Marian McPartland in memoriam Rufus Reid Ted Rosenthal Loren Schoenberg Steven D. Shaiman Trustee Chair Lew Soloff Billy Taylor in memoriam Chris Winans


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“There is something far greater at work in the Composition Program than simply the study of composition….the NYYS has inspired me to go out and pursue my dreams.” – Julian Touafek, 22, composer COMPOSITION The New York Youth Symphony’s Composition Program is the first series of workshops in the country for young musicians to explore the world of composition and orchestration. The program includes workshops exploring the musical thought of a wide variety of composers, with a focus on instrumentation and orchestration. In addition to study, students compose new works for various ensembles, including chamber ensembles, jazz orchestra, and chamber orchestra, which are performed by student ensembles. Students are given incomparable opportunities to learn from director Dr. Kyle Blaha and visiting artists. Previous guest lecturers include John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, Steve Reich, Steven Stucky, and Philip Glass. The 2013/14 guests include Augusta Read Thomas, Alan Pierson, Paul Moravec, and Amy Beth Kirsten, among others. Guest musicians including harpist Bridget Kibbey, the Attaca String Quartet, and the DeCoda ensemble read student compositions and provide expert feedback. The annual Composition Date! performance takes place each May at Symphony Space and includes world premieres composed by participants and performed by student musicians from the orchestra, jazz, chamber music, and conducting programs.


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“The orchestra has been a training ground for conductors who have gone on to bigger things.” –The New York Times THE ROBERT L. POSTER APPRENTICE CONDUCTING PROGRAM The Robert L. Poster Apprentice Conducting Program gives aspiring orchestral conductors an unparalleled opportunity to study the art of conducting through rehearsal technique, stick technique, score analysis, podium time, and observation, under the guidance of the NYYS Music Director and Assistant Conductor. Students meet weekly for study and attend rehearsals to observe best practices. Students have opportunities to conduct select Chamber Orchestra reading sessions and to work with student composers to prepare, rehearse, and perform newly composed pieces at the Composition Date! concert at Symphony Space.


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“During the last two decades, no youth orchestra in the country has been more relentlessly committed to generating new music than the New York Youth Symphony.” – Symphony Magazine FIRST MUSIC First Music, the New York Youth Symphony’s young composer competition, commissions America’s top emerging orchestra, chamber music, and jazz composers under the age of 30. It is the most widely acclaimed project of its kind in the country and serves as an important cultural resource in educating young musicians and audiences in the music of our time. Now entering its 30th season, the First Music program has commissioned over 100 pieces for orchestra, chamber music, and jazz ensembles. Chaired by composer Julia Wolfe and jazz bassist and composer Rufus Reid, the winners are chosen through blind, juried review panels. The world premiere performances take place the following season. Previous winners have gone on to receive a total of 12 Rome Prizes, 16 Guggenheim Fellowships, the Grawemeyer Award, and 3 Pulitzer Prizes awarded to Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, and Kevin Puts. Julia Wolfe Rufus Reid David Lang Kevin Puts Aaron Jay Kernis Augusta Read Thomas


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FIRST ART The First Art commissioning program provide an opportunity for emerging artists and illustrators to create a new visual illustration celebrating the spirit of music for the New York Youth Symphony. The commissioned art is used in marketing and promotional materials throughout the year. First Art is graciously underwritten by the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation. First Art 1, 1997 David Miller First Art 2, 1998 Charlene Potts First Art 4, 1997 Max Grafe First Art 5, 2001 Nick Drjuchin First Art 9, 2005 Michael Townsend First Art 8, 2004 Luvy Delgado First Art 7, 2003 Patrick Rocha, Jr. First Art 12, 2008 Naftali Beder First Art 13, 2009 Heather Rae Leininger First Art 14, 2010 Shawna Wei First Art 15, 2011 Jesse Ng First Art 16, 2012 Caleb Smith First Art 17, 2013 Seung Eun Paik


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“I sincerely hope you will come back very soon to continue this great work. I want to personally thank each and every one of your young performers. I think often they cannot know how much they are helping with their effort.” – Alessandro Ricciarelli, music therapist, Memorial Sloan-Kettering IN THE COMMUNITY New York Youth Symphony’s Performances for Special Audiences are live performances for children and senior citizens at various facilities throughout the five boroughs of New York. The NYYS arranges these performances through its partners including Concerts in Motion, Grand Street Residence, Wintergarden, Lenox House, and Mt. Sinai’s KidZone, the Harmony Program, Orchestra of St. Luke’s Youth Orchestra at the Police Athletic League, and Sing for Hope. This form of music education and exposure is vital to the future generations of students who do not receive arts education in their schools. Within the care facilities, music therapy can improve overall rehabilitation of the therapy recipients and increase their motivation to become engaged in their treatment, depending on the nature of the disability. This unique experience also enables our players to use their talents to make a difference in people’s lives. The New York Youth Symphony’s Get-On Music program was designed to expose youth to the world of music. Groups from under-served schools are provided complimentary tickets for NYYS performances at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Queens College and Symphony Space. The Get-on Music program was developed in the memory of Ruth and Lenard Mandel.


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Side-by-side session with students from the Harmony Program.



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