The Philadelphia Orchestra is well known for its deep involvement in its home community—and around the world. From programs in the Philadelphia school district, to PlayINs, free POPUp concerts, side-by-sides, residencies, and many similar activities, the Orchestra works hard to realize its firm belief in giving back to the people of the Delaware Valley. Now, thanks to a new partnership with Carnegie Hall, that commitment can expand nationwide, at the same time enhancing opportunities for Philadelphians.
The program is called NYO2, an extension of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States (NYO-USA). It launches next year, providing a two-week intensive summer program for America’s outstanding young instrumentalists, aged 14-17.
Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore hails the new initiative: “We are thrilled to form a new partnership with our longtime partner Carnegie Hall, with which the Orchestra has had over a century of shared vision, rich artistry, fruitful collaboration, and a deep commitment to education and artist training. NYO2 is an expansion of our offstage presence and a natural extension of our work in music education in the many communities we serve. With this initiative, The Philadelphia Orchestra hopes to provide opportunities for young Philadelphia musicians to interact with NYO2’s aspiring musicians and for NYO2 musicians to experience the cultural depth of the Philadelphia region. This important program will not only expand the diversity of musicians entering the classical music field, it will provide opportunities for concentrated mentorship and collective music-making.”
As with NYO-USA, launched by Carnegie Hall in 2013, NYO2 is a free program. It will help build greater diversity within the classical orchestral field by attracting talented students who have been traditionally underserved by local music programs. Participants will play alongside exceptionally talented peers, and learn from a world-class faculty. Running in conjunction with NYO-USA’s annual summer residency at Purchase College, State University of New York (SUNY), NYO2 aims to provide the finest musical training for younger students, at the same time expanding the pool of young musicians across the country who are equipped with the tools to succeed at the highest level.
Daniel Berkowitz, director of Collaborative Learning for the Orchestra, says that because NYO2 is completely free of charge and focused on those who are traditionally underrepresented in this field, it creates an exceptional collaborative opportunity. “We expect Philadelphia students to be represented in the program, and we’re hoping to have the culminating event, a side-by-side performance with the Orchestra, in our home town. We always strive to provide exceptional outlets for local students, whether it’s PlayINs or side-by-sides, or sending Yannick out into the community to work with young musicians; now, with NYO2, we can extend this concept nationally.”
One motivating force for this project is the belief that music, especially orchestral music, has a uniting power; it can bring communities together.
“Young musicians need to be trained as artists—but also as teachers and citizens who are committed to service,” says Berkowitz. “They embody not just exceptional artistry, but also an understanding that with every opportunity you get, you should give back to your community. If you can play four notes, teach someone who knows three. It is our hope that each one of the students in NYO2 acquires leadership skills, exceptional artistry, and knowledge they can then use to strengthen their community, and over the long run build a new face to classical music.”
Vulgamore sums up: “This project is at the very heart of what both the Orchestra and Carnegie Hall believe in—mentorship, access, and exceptional opportunities for artists and citizens of the future. We are a natural fit for this in-depth collaboration precisely because of the residency work that we have piloted and are actively engaged in here in Philadelphia, our summer homes in Vail and Saratoga, China, and most recently in Europe.”
(Applications to NYO2 will be accepted beginning on September 8, 2015. For more information, please click here. Leadership support for NYO2 is provided by Beatrice Santo Domingo.)