Carnegie Hall Creates National Youth Orchestra of the United States

By Welsh, Sarah | Strings, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Carnegie Hall Creates National Youth Orchestra of the United States


Welsh, Sarah, Strings


2013 summer seminar with top coaches and conductor Valéry Gergiev will put NYO-USA in motion

When Clive Gillinson, a cellist and Carnegie Hall's executive and artistic director, arrived in the United States from London in 2005, he knew there was something he wanted to address. "I was always baffled that there wasn't a national youth orchestra in the United States," says Gillinson, former managing director of the London Symphony Orchestra, an alum of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and a longtime proponent of music education. "[National youth orchestras] are incredibly important in bringing together the most important young people in the country. When you bring people like that together, they all inspire each other.

"It helps everyone develop and it contributes in so many different ways."

While there are numerous youth orchestras in the United States, a unifying, national youth orchestra existed only briefly in the 1940s. Because the United States operates mostly at a state level, forming and sustaining a national youth orchestra would be a huge undertaking. At the very least, it would require the efforts of a few passionate people with the right resources.

Enter Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute.

Working with Sarah Johnson, director of Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, Gillinson, 65, began studying the feasibility of a National Youth Orchestra of the United States. "Both of us felt that when the time was right we'd really like to make this happen," Gillinson says.

"And now the time is right."

Between June 30 and July 23, 2013, the National Youth Orchestra of the United States will bring together some of the most talented young musicians from throughout the country for an intensive two-week session, followed by a concert series hosted by Carnegie Hall.

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