While there are national youth orchestras in many parts of the world, one of its kinds has never existed in North America – until now. Carnegie Hall, once again proving its significance to the classical musical community, is establishing The National Youth Orchestra of the United States. The first session, however, will not take place until July 2013.
The orchestra will be comprised of 120 musicians from around the country, with ages ranging from 16 to 19-years-old. They will spend a three-week residency on the campus of Purchase College of the State University of New York, where they will practice before finally getting the opportunity to perform.
The orchestra will perform first at the Purchase College Performing Arts Center and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. before moving on to bigger and better things: namely, a tour to Moscow, St. Petersburg and London. However, the orchestra will not play at Carnegie until 2014 due to renovations.
The orchestra will tour different cities and have a different conductor every season. The first season will be conducted by Valery Gergiev, a Russian conductor and opera company director as well as the music director of the St. Petersburg Marinsky Theatre. The orchestra will go to different parts of the world every year, one of the reasons why Clive Gillinson, the executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, chose Valery Gergiev – as a way to honor and pay tribute to the places the orchestra will first tour in 2013.
Youth orchestras are special, because they give skilled teenagers opportunities to play professionally, especially if they were unable to attend a college conservatory or have not yet had the chance to do so. Actually, the youth orchestra is neither open to conservatory students in college nor to instrumental performance majors.