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Just in: US launches National Youth Orchestra

Most European countries have one, or more. America has never gone that way – til now. It’s a Carnegie Hall initiative. Valery Gergiev is launch conductor, Joshua Bell the first soloist. Read on:


nyo photo: NYO/UK


Created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, National Program
Recognizes Finest Young Players from Across the Country, Ages 16-19
World-Renowned Conductor Valery Gergiev Leads Orchestra in its Inaugural Year with Acclaimed Violinist Joshua Bell as Special Guest SoloistTwo-Week Summer 2013 Residency at Purchase College, State University of New York, To Culminate with Debut Performance at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center,
Followed by Exciting International Tour to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and London

(March 4, 2013; NEW YORK, NY)—Carnegie Hall today announced the names of the 120 exceptional young musicians from across America who have been specially selected to come together from June 30 through July 23, 2013 to create the first-ever National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.

Hailing from 42 US states—from Eagle River, Alaska to Miami, Florida; from Seattle, Washington to Sioux Falls, South Dakota; from Honolulu, Hawaii to Kalamazoo, Michigan; from Los Angeles, California to Marietta, Georgia and beyond—these young orchestral players, ages 16-19, have been recognized by Carnegie Hall as being among the finest in the country following a comprehensive audition process.

See below for the complete state-by-state roster of the 2013 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA), or for more information—including an interactive map of the musicians’ hometowns—please visit

The musicians of the first National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America will travel to New York in late June 2013 for a rigorous two-week training residency on the campus of Purchase College, State University of New York, working with some of the country’s best professional orchestral players. The young musicians will then have the opportunity to represent their country as the NYO-USA undertakes its inaugural international tour with stops at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, followed by dates in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and London.

Internationally-renowned conductor Valery Gergiev will lead the NYO-USA in its first year, with the ensemble joined this summer by acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell as soloist. The orchestra’s concert program will include Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 in E Minor, and a new work by young American composer Sean Shepherd, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall especially for NYO-USA. Specific tour dates and venues for all cities will be announced in late spring 2013.

“We have been thrilled at the response to our creation of the NYO-USA program,” said Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall. “We are very excited, but not surprised that there is such a depth of world class talent among young musicians across the United States, and we know this first roster will be wonderfully strong. With the energy and skill demonstrated by these young players, we fully expect that the music-making of this orchestra will be completely inspirational for participants and audiences alike.”

2013 Orchestra Roster

Andrew Downs, Bass   (Irondale) 
Brendon Mezzetti, Violin (Eagle River) 
Jennifer Chiang, Flute (Tempe)
Benjamin Nead, Cello (Tucson)
Elias Brown, Trumpet (Santa Monica)
Jessie Chen, Violin (Palos Verdes Estates)
Kristen Fang, Flute (Walnut Creek)
Mya Greene, Viola (Los Angeles)
Stephen Hart, Viola (Coto de Caza)
Ha Kyung Jung, Violin (Irvine)
Nathan Kirchhoff, Bassoon (San Gabriel)
Ryan Roberts, Oboe (Santa Monica)
Ray Anthony Trujillo, Violin (Elk Grove)
Lily Tsai, Violin (Palo Alto)
Nathan Wong, Viola (San Gabriel)
Annie Wu, Flute (Pleasanton)
David Yoon, Percussion (Irvine)
Andrew Burgan, Violin (Aurora)
Julia Popham, Violin (Golden)
Margaret Klucznik, Viola (Glastonbury)
Marius Sander, Violin (Wyoming)
Andrew Cheshire, Violin (Merritt Island)
Annabel Chyung, Violin (Miami)
Jonathan Collazo, Percussion   (Kissimmee)
Camille Glazer, Viola (Orlando)
Alexander Ishov, Flute (Gainesville)
Mitchell Kuhn, Oboe (Jacksonville)
Nikolette LaBonte, Horn (Palm Beach Gardens)
Nina Morales, Violin (Spring Hill)
Santiago Olaguibel, Bass (Miami)
Terrence Smith, Jr., Violin (Miami)
Sebastian Zinca, Bass (Miami)
Andrew Sommer, Bass (Marietta)
Markus Osterlund, Horn (Honolulu)
Michelle Hembree, Horn (Boise)
Emily Camras, Cello (Batavia)
Garrett Chou, Cello (Northbrook)
Eric Goldberg, Percussion (Chicago)
Erika Gray, Viola (Wilmette)
Tanner Jackson, Bass Trombone (Tinley Park)
Jacob Mezera, Trombone (Tinley Park)
Tabitha Oh, Violin (Chicago)
Clara Abel, Cello (Indianapolis)
Jared Murray, Cello (Lanesville)
Kevin Li, Violin (Bettendorf)
Akshay Dinakar, Violin (Prairie Village)
Christopher Zhou, Clarinet (Prospect)
Angelique Montes, Cello (New Orleans)
Zeynep Alpan, Violin (Bethesda)
Russell Iceberg, Violin (New Market)
Henry Whitaker, Trumpet (Millersville)
Enchi Chang, Violin (Belmont)
Madison Freed, Clarinet (Brookline)
Tom Jeon, Clarinet (Lexington)
Leah Meyer, Horn (Belmont)
Elizabeth Sperry, Flute (Chelmsford)
Brian Wendel, Trombone (Conway)
Giancarlo Latta, Violin (Ann Arbor)
Cullen O’Neil, Cello (Kalamazoo)
Caelan Stewart, Horn (Clarkston)
Jacob Warren, Bass (South Lyon)
Nora Doyle, Cello (Minneapolis)
Arjun Ganguly, Viola (St. Cloud)
Jennifer Kim, Violin (Rochester)
Guillermo del Prado, Violin (Hattiesburg)
Julia Kirk, Violin (Jackson)
Sean Byrne, Viola (Chesterfield)
Angela Holmes, Cello (Lee’s Summit)
Rosalyn Weiss, Violin (Billings)
Jehong Ahn, Viola (Omaha)
New Hampshire  
Isaac Schultz, Bassoon (Exeter)
New Jersey  
Matthew Gajda, Trumpet (Mahwah) 
Russell Hoffman, Oboe (Mountain Lakes)
Soyeong Park, Violin (Princeton Junction)
Jackson Whang, Viola (Mountain Lakes)
New Mexico  
Kayla Mathes, Cello (Albuquerque)
New York  
Robert Donowick, Viola (West Seneca)
Jacob Efthimiou, Cello (Delhi)
Emma Frucht, Violin (New York)
Jarrett Grempel, Bassoon (Wantagh)
Martine Thomas, Viola (Rochester)
Kevin Yu, Violin (Albertson)
North Carolina  
Albert Feng, Cello (Raleigh)
Samuel Sparrow, Clarinet (Durham)
Demi Fang, Violin (Dayton)
Mariko Shimasaki, Violin (Springfield)
Micheal Barnes, Percussion (Lawton)
Blair Shepperd, Bassoon (Portland)
Gabriel Young, Oboe (Ashland)
Ahmer’e Blackman, Bass (Wilmerding)
Matthew Burg, Bass (Williamsport)
Alexandria Conrad, Violin (Willow Street)
Mark Debski, Oboe (Bethel Park)
Jason Herrmann, Violin (Bryn Mawr)
Beatrice Hsieh, Violin (North Wales)
Amy Semes, Violin (Broomall)
South Dakota  
Skye Dearborn, Trombone (Sioux Falls)
Benjamin Parton, Violin (Sevierville)
John Paul Powers, Tuba (Clinton)
Eric Bowser, Violin (Center Point)
Jordan Brokken, Bassoon (Houston)
Franklin Jia, Clarinet (Plano)
Jackie Johnson, Bass (Plano)
Weston McCall, Horn (San Antonio)
Lincoln Valdez, Trumpet   (Austin)
Thomas Wong, Viola (Plano)
Stephen Xi, Violin   (Plano) 
Jacob Davis, Viola (St. George)
Annika Jenkins, Violin (Virginia Beach)
Samuel Matzner, Viola (Arlington)
Stephen Tang, Violin (Virginia Beach)
Katja Yeager, Viola (Vienna)
Audrey Chen, Cello (Redmond)
William Langlie-Miletich, Bass (Seattle)
Joseph Lorang, Violin (Seattle)
Marianne Martinoli, Violin (Monroe)
Karl Ronneburg, Percussion (Sammamish)
Sophia Stoyanovich, Violin (Bainbridge Island)
Kartik Papatla, Cello (Mequon)
Colton Kelley, Bass (Cheyenne)

About the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America
Created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America provides an annual tuition-free opportunity for talented young musicians (ages 16-19) from across the US to come together with their peers, supported by a faculty of leading professional orchestra musicians and a celebrated conductor, for a two-week intensive musical residency, followed by a tour to top music capitals. Young musicians from across the country are invited to apply to this one-of-a-kind program, which is designed to shine a light on the extraordinary talent of young American instrumentalists, offering NYO-USA members a transformative musical and cultural experience as they develop their musical skills, receive training at the highest professional level, and travel abroad, serving as musical youth ambassadors for the US.

Purchase College, State University of New York, is a key partner in Carnegie Hall’s new NYO-USA initiative. During their two-week residency, orchestra members will be housed on Purchase College’s scenic campus, located in Westchester County, just north of New York City, where they will undertake their initial training and rehearsals. All rehearsals will be centered at the College’s highly-regarded Performing Arts Center and in the rehearsal studios of its School for the Arts Conservatory of Music. Capping the students’ stay and the launch of the NYO-USA’s performance activities will be a concert at the College’s PAC for the public and college community.

James Ross, associate director of The Juilliard School’s conducting program and director of orchestral activities at the University of Maryland, will lead the NYO-USA faculty in 2013. Comprising some of the finest players and section leaders from America’s greatest orchestras and music schools, the faculty will oversee rehearsals during the orchestra’s residency in Purchase and will conduct master classes, chamber music readings, and other seminars on essential music skills, all leading up to the launch of the international tour.

The 2013 tour of NYO-USA is made possible by Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Yoko Nagae Ceschina, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the Peter J. Sharp Foundation, and Ann Ziff.

Public support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Carnegie Hall recently announced plans for the second annual National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, which will include a US tour in summer 2014 to be led by conductor David Roberston with violinist Gil Shaham preceded by a two-week residency at Purchase College. Application information for the 2014 NYO-USA program will be made available later this spring. For more information on the NYO-USA, including audition requirements and details on the application process, please visit

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  1. Terrific news! We have so many wonderful young musicians, and this will be yet another opportunity for them to meet together and play the finest orchestral repertoire, and be mentored by these brilliant conductors.

  2. Interesting that the news is on the Carnegie Hall website. I hope this means Clive Gillinson has involved himself as he did over here with the NYOGB when it was at its prime.
    I cannot wait to hear it.

  3. Fantastic!

    I find two things particularly interesting about the participants’ roster:

    - There are only six players from New York, while Florida, California and even Texas have more;
    - Of the eight Texans, four of them are from Plano. Must be some good musical things going on in that town!

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      Texas has the largest public school music program in the USA. I, too, was surprised by the small NY contingent. California is the most populous state. Florida? Not sure I can explain that, any takers?

      • Hornguy says:

        Population totals are crude tools because they don’t account for age distribution, but consider the following.

        California, with approximately 38 million people, has 13 participants. New York, with roughly half California’s population, has 6. Texas, which at 26 million falls about a third of the way between New York and California, has 8.

        Florida, with roughly the same population as New York, has 8. Surely in a group of 120 musicians that two-musician discrepancy can likely be attributed to random variation.

        More interesting would be comparing a state like Georgia (10 million, 1 musician) or North Carolina (9 million, 2 musicians) to a state like Washington (7 million, 6 musicians). But even there, it’s not hard to figure out. All six of the Washington representatives come from the metropolitan Seattle area, which is routinely rated as one of America’s most affluent and educated cities.

        Speaking of affluent and educated, that also likely explains the four kids from Plano, population 270k. Plano is one of America’s wealthiest cities with populations over 250k. And for what it’s worth, those two kids from NC both come from the Triangle, the most educated part of NC that is dominated by high-tech companies and major research universities.

        I don’t have the time to continue on, but if I had to bet my dollar, it’d be that the correlation to wealth and educational attainment present in these children’s neighborhoods is far stronger than, say, correlations to population or strength of public school music programs.

        And truly, to whom among us would that be a surprise? The arts are among the most resource intensive of all hobbies that a child could pursue.

        • Please keep in mind that the distribution by state reflects only those kids who chose to audition. I know, for example, that there are lots of talented musicians attending Pre-College programs at our country’a finest conservatories who chose not to audition because they would rather attend prestigious summer music festivals. Unless every talented kid in the country were to audition for this Youth Orchestra we will never know what the real breakdown by state might have been.

        • “Florida, with roughly the same population as New York, has 8…”

          I counted 11.

  4. A small correction: America did go the way of a national orchestra of young people when Leopold Stokowski began the All-American Youth Orchestra in 1940. Its sound mimicked the responsiveness and sonorities of The Philadelphia Orchestra. It toured and recorded before disbanding due to the drafting of many of its members in World War II.

  5. I think the headline is a bit misleading: this initiative was announced almost one year ago by Carnegie Hall. All that was announced today, it seems, was the roster of musicians who would play as the inaugural orchestra.

  6. Finally! And, a real ‘youth’ orchestra. No more balding 25 year olds like other countries.

    • What an odd comment – impossible to speak for alkl countries, but with an upper age-limit of 18, you won’t find many “balding 25 year olds” in the UK’s National Youth Orchestra, at any rate. And the Simon Bolivar has (quite properly) not used the “Youth Orchestra” title for a couple of years now.

  7. harold braun says:

    Great News!But what about the New World Symphony? Isn”t that some kind of National Youth orchestra too?Or am I wrong here?

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      NWS is a professional-level training ensemble open to musicians who have at least a Bachelors or a post-secondary diploma. They average between 21-25 and often a bit older. Think of New World Symphony as a AAA farm club of a major league baseball team in the USA. Their destiny is clear: a major symphony orchestra, in most cases. The Carnegie effort is aimed at high-school age student musicians who may, or may not, have chosen music as a career path.

      • harold braun says:

        Thanks for the information!From the NWS rosters of past seasons i got that really many former members have made their ways into top orchestras.

  8. Gordon Stenger says:


    This is a bit of hype. The National High School Orchestra existed for 8 weeks each summer at Interlochen, Michigan in the fifties and sixties (and probably earlier). Annie and Ida Kavafian are but two of many distinguished alumni.

    It eventually became the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, and may go under a different name now.

  9. in the USA memory is very short! The first and greatest Training and professional level Americam orchestra was the National Orchestral Association, under Leon Barzin!
    Many of the first desk players in the top American orchestras were alumni of this wonderful ensemble.Barzin was heads and shoulders as musician above VG…..the orchestra premiered many pieces while every season the NOA rehearsed every year a very large and comprehensive part of the standard orchestral literature. Re soloists: Elman in all the romantic violin concert, Myra Hess, and Lillian and Joseph Fuchs in Mozart for example.Barzin himself in his 20′s was first violist in the NY Phil under Mengelberg; marrying ‘well’ he owned the manuscript to the ‘Haffner ‘ Symphony! I had the pleasure of playing with Mr. Barzin trying out the Chopin 2nd concerto , Mozart KV 491 and playing in a private benefit concert for the Godard-Riverside Community center Maestro Barzin; he generously contributed his services and personnel to play a Bach and Mozart concerto with me. One of my fondest New York concert memories was an evening, entitled ‘Members’ of the NY Philharmonic”, those , who were tired otf the strike . The only conductor at the time who didn’t fear the labor union , Barzin. Was that an evening to relish! In Carnegie, not inthe unmusical evil acoustics of Philharmonic Hall…with a Berlioz ouverture followed by several concerti for orchestral instruments with players from the NY Phil, ending with the best ‘La Valse’ I have ever heard. As a friend in the orchestra enthusiastically-remarked to me later tthat evening: “Finally a real musician and Maestro with us”……..Do listen to Barzin’s performance of the ‘Haffner ‘ Symphony…..The days of Walter, Mitropolous, early Lennie….vintage NY Philharmonic a n d NOA concerts. Hoe ‘American ‘ the new ensemble with Tschaikowsky and Shostakovich …don’t imagine VG conducting Elliot Carter, Morton Feldman or Ives, the best American fare…..! Why not an international and American conductor, a star in South America and here as Ira Levin, a great communicator and versatile musician the orchestra would adore? Has 5 x more to offer than VG…

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