BOSTON PHILHARMONIC YOUTH ORCHESTRA
The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) was formed in 2012 under the auspices of the Boston Philharmonic. Conducted by Benjamin Zander, the BPYO’s motto is “Shaping Future Leaders Through Music.” The BPYO’s 120 enthusiastic and talented young musicians range in age from 12 to 21, affording younger members of the orchestra the chance to collaborate with older students who are beginning their professional careers. In turn, collegiate members of the group are offered the opportunity to nurture and coach the future generations.
The BPYO offers a unique opportunity for young instrumentalists who want to study great orchestral repertoire in a musically dynamic and intellectually challenging community. BPYO members are asked not only to master their parts in order to gain a deep understanding of the musical score (including through regular sectional rehearsals led by top professionals from the Boston musical community), but also to engage in dialogue with Mr. Zander through weekly “white sheets”, sheets of paper where they are encouraged to share their thoughts on all aspects of the music and the rehearsal process. These conversations lead to stimulating discussions on personal leadership and often initiate ongoing individual conversations with Mr. Zander through email, phone calls, and conversations at rehearsals, creating a unique mentoring relationship between Mr. Zander and each musician.
In its inaugural 2012-13 season, the BPYO performed two concerts to sold-out audiences in Boston’s Symphony Hall and undertook a wildly successful five-city tour of The Netherlands, culminating in a performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony in Amsterdam’s acclaimed Concertgebouw. Six months later, in December 2013, the BPYO performed at Carnegie Hall, receiving high praise in The New York Times for their “brilliantly played, fervently felt account.” Subsequent tours included: an 18-day tour featuring concerts in the Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland, including performances in the Prague Rudolfinum, the Philharmonie of Berlin, and the KKL of Luzern in 2015: six concerts in Spain in 2016; performances and outreach activities in Peru, Uruguay, and Argentina in 2017; eight concerts in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, and The Netherlands, including performances in the Prague Rudolfinum, Budapest National Concert Hall, Vienna Musikverein, and Amsterdam Concertgebouw in 2018; an eight-city tour to Brazil, and a six-city tour to Greece in 2022. The orchestra plans to tour South Africa in June of 2023. In 2019 they were named “Best Classical Music Ensemble” by Boston Magazine. Each international engagement has been met with top critical approval and has led to the formation of life-long bonds between the orchestra and the musical cultures of the various host countries.
The BPYO has released three highly acclaimed commercial recordings: Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, recorded live at Carnegie Hall in 2013, and Mahler Symphonies No. 6 and No. 9, recorded live at Symphony Hall in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
The BPYO’s many musical and personal growth opportunities cultivate exceptionally skilled musicians, who become respected and acclaimed leaders in music and in their communities. WBUR classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz, formerly of The Boston Phoenix, once said, “I wish more professional orchestras played as thrillingly as this.”