Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Youth Orchestra Heads to Europe Tours 3 Countries in 12 Days

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Youth Orchestra Heads to Europe Tours 3 Countries in 12 Days

Article excerpt

Before yesterday, violinist Nolan Ardolino had never performed outside of the United States.

This week, he's playing with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra in some of the most famous concert halls in Europe.

The Upper St. Clair resident, 18, is participating in the group's 12-day tour through the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia.

"I'm quite nervous to see how the public is going to react to the way we play," Mr. Ardolino said. "I guess music is the international language, but it'll always be interesting to see how they react to the way that we interpret it."

The 84 musicians, who range in age from 14 to 21, are traveling with 12 chaperones and 35 other companions. They will give one concert each in Prague; Vienna; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Salzburg, Austria.

Craig Johnson, executive director of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, said the tour's international nature is crucial.

"It's an educational experience for the students to learn about foreign countries and also gain the musical experience of performing on tour, which is different and more rigorous than performing concerts at home," he said.

The orchestra typically has about two hours to rehearse before it plays in each unfamiliar concert hall, Mr. Johnson said. The musicians have to adjust quickly to acoustics and sightlines different from the ones in their usual performance venues: Heinz Hall, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum and Carnegie Music Hall.

"We consider ourselves musical ambassadors for the city of Pittsburgh and the state of Pennsylvania, so we want to show the world the talent that we have here," Mr. Johnson said.

Showcasing that talent is expensive, so the orchestra held fundraising events and solicited grants and donations. The group raised approximately $100,000 in total to offset the cost of the trip, Mr. …

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