“I realized that my job is to awaken possibility in others.”

BPYO Rehearsal 1 - White Sheets

Benjamin Zander Center
Discussions — September 28, 2019

I loved how you musically interpreted in the Mahler in the 1st movement. It was very unique and different than how I listened to it and anticipated. I look forward to the upcoming movements.



Dear Mr. Zander,

Words cannot express how it feels to be back at BFIT on Saturday afternoons! It truly feels like a religion- I feel uplifted when I come here and that feeling lasts the whole week. The fourth movement of Mahler is just waiting to be explored!




Dear Mr. Zander,

What a wonderful first rehearsal with you! I am very happy to be playing Mahler again, as last year we were only able to play one movement. As it is my fourth year of BPYO, I like to think that I have gotten to know and to live out my life using the core values of the orchestra. I am so excited to be able to lead the orchestra from the front of the first violins. Mitsuru has been a huge source of musical and personal inspiration for me, and I am so happy to have the opportunity to lead hopefully like her in the coming year.

Much love,



Dear Mr. Zander,

I am thrilled to be back for another year of BPYO. On top of being a phenomenal orchestral experience, the values of BPYO have truly seeped into every area of my life. Whether I am dealing with school work, violin playing, or other extracurriculars, I try to do these things within the world of possibility and to always think about how I can do things that will positively impact those around me. I am thankful for BPYO for introducing me to the way of possibility and I hope to continue radiating these values in the future!



Dear Mr. Zander,

Today was an absolutely terrific rehearsal. I might even argue that it was the best rehearsal that I participated in ever. Though you made a similar speech last year, what you spoke about today touched the deeper part of me. I never really appreciated the meaning of these phrases but somehow today, that was all together difference. Thank you so much for continually imparting these ideas to us. I believe that they not only have impacted our lives but even the way we play. Today that was evident in the way we played with passion, spirit, and love. I hope the rehearsals continue with such vigor.



Hi Mr. Zander!

My name is Shira and I play viola. I’m 16 and go to Phillips Academy Andover but I’m from Brookline MA. I really liked my first rehearsal!!



Can BPYO be environmentally friendly and stop using plastic water bottles during break?

Encourage everyone to bring their own reusable bottled?


Rehearsal was very fun. The beginning of the Mahler is especially good.



It was a great rehearsal!



Dear Mr. Zander,

It was interesting to go back to Mahler‘s first symphony after playing his ninth. I can see a couple of similarities in the music, especially in the second and fourth movements. I’m glad that I’m getting a chance to play the first symphony of such a great composer, especially considering that no one ever plays the 1st symphony anywhere.



I am so impressed with this orchestra. To have everyone so excited and attentive and committed to the same goal. I haven’t felt this much energy and passion in an orchestra in so long. Thank you for letting me be a part of it!



I was very pleased with the level and outcome of this reading. I am excited to hear what is to come!



I thought that sometimes the wins/brass or not together with the strings in agreeing on a tempo, especially in the bass clarinet/cello section in the first movement of the Mahler.



Dear Mr. Zander,

It was wonderful to be conducted by you for the first time today. I liked working on the details (i.e. imitating sound qualities) in Mahler. I love the energy and patience you have for this orchestra. I’m looking forward to the next one!



This rehearsal (and last) we’re amazing! I’ve never been in an orchestra with such power in just the first two rehearsals! I really think these pieces have been an exceptional selection. I am really looking forward to the rest of the rehearsals and see what I will put into the white sheet. Thank you!



Dear Maestro Zander,

It’s so nice to hear the section playing around me to listen and be inspired by everyone else is playing. Looking forward to the season!



Dear Mr. Zander,

So excited to be playing Mahler 1! Finally a full Mahler symphony. I really liked that analogy of the a thing sounded for millions of years. Also so enjoyed the interpretation class today! I’m working on second sweet of Bacchus so I think I’ll go home and try some of what you said. Hoping to maybe play in one sometime.



As a first-year member of this ensemble, I am impressed and delighted of the passion brought to this music. It can really be heard in the quality of music. I love playing like a professional, and being treated like one!



I greatly appreciate it today’s rehearsal. At times, the pacing was slow, but that slower pacing allowed for incredibly important details to be worked on in the Mahler symphony. I would like to see future rehearsals take on a similar character and pace!



Dear Mr. Zander,

In section end of verity, there are multiple crescendos and then a sudden decrease in dynamic. Is it a good idea to do those? I’m so excited for this year! Is there any more details about your South Africa tour that you could share with the orchestra?

With love,



Mr. Zander,

I’m looking forward to another fantastic year in BPYO! I love the energy of the music we’re playing! I’m hoping to put together a field trip for Keene High Music students to come see the November concert!



I had quite the experience today, and though tired, thoroughly enjoyed it! Honestly, it really reminded me of when I was still studying under my old teacher and I’m really glad I could relive it! I look forward to every Saturday!

Athena (p.s. I’m 15 now, it was my birthday yesterday!)


Dear Mr. Zander,

After last weeks rehearsal, my friend who had just experienced her first ever BPYO rehearsal said to me, “That was so exciting, I cannot wait until next week!” I am also extremely excited to come to every rehearsal this upcoming season. It has been yet another (my fourth) fantastic beginning to a new year! Thank you.




This was a fantastic taste of what is to come. I can imagine playing the Mahler and Verdi inside the sumptuous walls of Symphony Hall. I am excited for performing, but rehearsing the music is always just as exhilarating as I can imagine on stage will be.



Dear Mr. Zander,

It was truly an amazing first rehearsal. I loved the impeccable attention to detail and such high standards for this orchestra. I think one suggestion I have is to take B of the Verdi slightly slower, although that is merely a preference and I don’t know how fast Verdi intended it to be. Thank you so much.



Dear Mr. Zander,

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed so far, but I am enjoying it. I have never played or listen to any Mahler prior to this, and the only thing I heard about it was that it was boring and long, but I really enjoyed it. The rehearsal was interesting and engaging and I look forward to the rest of the year.




Dear Mr. Zander,

Thank you for an amazing first rehearsal! All of the things you say about music resonate with me very strongly. I have not been able to describe the particular magic of Mahler 1 to my family or non-musical friends, and it was very comforting to be in a place where everyone understands the certain things about music. I feel like I belong here and like I can be my full self in BPYO. I love your quote: “God turned up the volume!”

Thank you for the amazing music making!



Dear Maestro Zander,

After your speech at the beginning of rehearsal, I cannot help but think of tribes. Since starting school, I have been very mindful of finding they try. I have work to find people similar to me, and have been fairly successful in my endeavor. However, today made me realize that it is wrong to think I should exclude myself and only talk to similar people. This week, as part of walking in spirit love, I will try my best to talk to many different people. It will be challenging, perhaps more so than eliminating like for my vocabulary, but I believe it will be a rewarding challenge.

It has been a joy coming back to Mahler 1 after playing at BUTI this summer. Fond memories keep coming to me as we play the various themes. This is a slightly different interpretation, but it is exciting to have something new.




I thought the stories really put the music into Mahler’s on perspective as the true titan or hero of the story. Thinking about the horns and the trumpets as the acute and fragile souls of the harmonics, played in the strings, really approaches the piece from a perspective of observation in amazement with the world around Mahler, and around us and helps me as a performer to visualize and efficiently produce this feeling of amazement and wonder to the audience.



Dear Mr. Zander,

It’s great to be back in the swing of BPYO! I am so excited to be playing my first Mahler symphony (and his first, too!). The season is still young, as is this BPYO, and growing with it through the year will really be a treat. BYSO is playing Mahler’s sixth in the spring. I am so excited to be able to apply what I learned from this experience to that one, and will definitely check BPYO’s recording in preparation.

Here’s to the BPYO season and all it brings!




I think this is the strongest wind section I’ve played with. It’s definitely the strongest flute section. Last week I found a lot of value in listening to Hunter’s initial interpretation of the part. He finds a way to play so softly yet Carrie so far, and with great character. I believe you’re also the nicest conductor I’ve worked with. It’s clear you have immense respect for our orchestra, and it’s evident that that’s true in rehearsals as well. I’m not sure any of my previous conductors could have resisted making a snarly comment toward Alexander, the first clarinet, when he forgot to switch to cut time. That’s not saying anything bad about my previous conductors, but I emphasize my appreciation for having been treated in this rehearsal as a valid participant in the music with mature ideas about how it should be interpreted. It doesn’t look like I’ll be getting the opportunity to play in any of the orchestras at Boston University anytime soon, and I appreciate getting the chance to play more here.



Time to practice! Please take care of your voice, I suggest re-emphasizing the importance of keeping side chatter to a minimum during tuning and rehearsal in general. Thank you, and I cannot wait for another year of hard work and great music.



I had a great time today! It’s so great being back. It feels like home.

Mahler- on the offstage part… do you always want us to start slowly and make an accelerando, or play at all in tempo? I am fine with either. Today we have started a bit faster than I’m used to which didn’t give as much room to accelerate. All the best!



Dear Mr. Zander,

For this week, the only thing I’d like you to consider is to remind people to have an use your plugs. The Mahler is very powerful, the fourth movement in particular is painfully loud (at least from the bassoon section). 

I also want to tell you about something that happened last week. I was putting my instrument together and my case was on the table. As I got a piece out, my keys fell backwards off the table and my belt fell with it. I checked it and it was fine, but I was afraid the other musicians would judge me for it. On the contrary, John came over and also checked it. I’m glad to be playing in such a caring section.




Click here to listen to the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra perform Mahler’s Symphony no. 1.

See What Else is New