About this project
Comprised of 127 passionate and talented young musicians aged 12 to 21, under the leadership of one of the most exciting Maestros of our time, the BPYO was chosen by the Boston Globe as one of the “Best New Things in Boston in 2012.”
Tuition free, the BPYO is more than a youth orchestra. It is an institution training 21st century leaders and offering a clear vision of the universal power of music to transform future generations.Benjamin Zander’s unique brand of passionate leadership, known to millions through his popular TED talk, the book The Art of Possibility and his Presentations, challenges every BPYO member to reach beyond the music to achieve harmony in their lives and the world around them.
Leading figures in the music world like Yo-Yo Ma, Simon Rattle, and composers John Harbison and Gunther Schuller have hailed the formation of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in 2012 as a major development in music education in America. The orchestra’s debut performance last November drew a sold-out crowd to Boston’s famed Symphony Hall. Their recent performance of Mahler’s majestic Symphony No 2 “The Resurrection,” caused a prolonged standing ovation and prompted Pulitzer-prize winning critic Lloyd Schwartz to write:“the triumph of the blazing final movement, and the entire symphony, was Zander’s and the orchestra’s — pouring it on, pouring it out, with total and overwhelming conviction, abandon, and, as Mahler requires, surprise.”
60% of the players are still in middle school or high school and 40% are undergraduates studying in Boston’s best music institutions. They hail from a wide range of ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds.
The tour is being organized by leading Dutch music managers and music educators who view the visit of the BPYO and conductor Benjamin Zander as a major stimulus and inspiration to both students and audiences throughout their country.
The players will collaborate with local youth orchestras and participate in “social action through music,” interacting with students in music programs, and presenting a joint performance with 500 local orchestra members ages 12 and under.
Performances will feature Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” in collaboration with a national Dutch chorus and internationally acclaimed soloists, Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, and Schumann’s Piano Concerto, with 17-year-old Boston-based prodigy George Li. Concerts are scheduled in Maastricht, Haarlem, Almere, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam. The tour culminates on June 27th with a performance in the acoustically perfect Concertgebouw, where Mahler himself conducted his “Resurrection” Symphony. Cultural exchange and outreach activities, focused in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, will allow BPYO members to serve as ambassadors and generous contributors, central aspects of their leadership training. Also featured is a conducting master class led by Benjamin Zander with the BPYO, for aspiring Dutch conductors.
The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra is funded entirely by donations from supporters in the Boston area. Now, as we spread our wings to take the passion and vision of the orchestra abroad, we are asking you to join in and support us with a donation. The total cost to the orchestra of the tour is $350,000.So far we have raised $210,000. We have $140,000 to go. Your contribution helps fund airfare, ground transportation, hostel accommodations, hall rental, marketing for the concerts, and meals for the orchestra.
In addition, your contribution supports a message that classical music is alive and flourishing now and will be for generations to come.
Endorsements of BPYO
“The creation of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra is wonderful news for young musicians and music-lovers throughout the Boston area. Through his vision, passion and artistry Benjamin Zander will provide extraordinary leadership for this exciting new project.”
-- Yo-Yo Ma
“Even in far away Berlin, the news that Ben Zander is founding a new youth orchestra is extremely important. These fortunate young people will experience an intense musical and emotional engagement which will remain with them for a lifetime. My warmest best wishes for your new adventure, and long may it prosper!”
-- Sir Simon Rattle
"The formation of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra is great news. Everywhere that I travel I meet musicians who began their musical journey with Ben Zander. They retain, gratefully, their enthusiasm, determination, and high ideals!"
--John Harbison, Chair of Composition, Tanglewood Music Center
“I was greatly thrilled to hear that Ben Zander is founding a new youth orchestra, because I can’t think of anyone who has such a special talent for working with young people. Ben has a unique way of teaching, coaching, inspiring and presenting the young minds with the wonderful disciplines that are involved in the art of making great music.”
-- Gunther Schuller
"Benjamin Zander was put on this earth to set young people on their path to a lifelong relationship with music, whether they become professional performing musicians or not. Zander does many things well, but no one does what he does best any better – his work with youth orchestras is inspiring both to the players and to the audiences who hear them. He leads the young musicians to play better, to dig more deeply into the meanings of the music, than they ever thought they could. When confronted with music-making on the level Zander achieves with young players, audiences find themselves listening on a new level as well. His youth orchestras are not just training themselves for music but also training themselves for adult lives; they learn social skills as well as musical skills, and learn the habits of discipline. Rehearsing with like-minded youngsters, performing, touring to Europe, South America and Asia, are profoundly educational activities. They not only change perspectives, they change lives. With his unique zest, Zander opens the doors that swing wide to reveal new worlds."
--Richard Dyer, Chief Music Critic of the Boston Globe from 1973-2006
BPYO Member Testimonials
“BPYO has changed my life. …I am in a great place now, and that is thanks to this orchestra and Mr. Zander. For the first time in my life, my seat within the section doesn’t matter to me…I learn something from each of my colleagues in the section every week, and I try to come prepared in such a way that I can do the same for them.” – John K.
“I know you've heard this a million times, and I hate to sound like a broken record, but the experience of BPYO has changed my life-- even just 6 months into it. I cannot wait to see where we'll go, musically and experientially, in the next few years.” – Lilia C.
“The concert was absolutely unbelievable. It was more intense and exciting than anything I had imagined. By the end I was drenched with sweat and shaking like a leaf (I actually had to use my stand for support to stand up at the end)! It was one of the most physically draining things I have ever done, and it was also one of the best experiences I have ever had. The concert was more than just a concert, for it didn't feel like I was playing a piece of music. It really felt like I was experiencing all of life in that symphony, and that's why I have come to love it so much.” – Joe B.
“To get to play a concert with the orchestra I love so dearly was so much fun, and to play the music we were playing was a tremendous honor. To think high schoolers get the chance to play the notes Beethoven, Elgar and Strauss wrote shows that music is universal, music can stand the test of time and music truly is more powerful than human beings. But what I saw today was something even more extraordinary. It was the passion that humans can create with music.” – Joe B.
“I am always amazed by the amount of compassion, consideration, generosity, and sincerity in BPYO, not only as a group of musicians, but as a community. There is nothing more awe-inspiring than being surrounded by wonderful friends and musicians who are not only care so much about the music but also each other. I feel so lucky to be a part of BPYO and I'm always touched by all the white sheets that you share from other BPYO members. Everything is incredibly inspiring.”- Max T.
Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra: www.bostonphil.org/bpyo
Boston Philharmonic: www.bostonphil.org
Benjamin Zander: www.benjaminzander.com
BPYO Review: “Joyously Exuberant Youth Symphony”
Risks and challenges
Plans for the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra tour to the Netherlands are developing very well. There are always challenges associated with traveling internationally with a large group, and however carefully one plans, there are sure to be unanticipated surprises with such an undertaking. While BPYO is a brand new orchestra, the BPYO artistic and administrative team have led many successful international youth orchestra tours with other organizations. We are delighted to be working with a wonderful team of collaborators in the Netherlands, and we feel confident that we will be able to overcome any potential challenges.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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