The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra—One of this Country’s Premiere Youth Orchestras—Performs Debussy, Brahms, and Mahler in their season finale performance May 8, 2016, 3pm | Sanders Theatre

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The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra—One of this Country’s Premiere Youth Orchestras—Performs Debussy, Brahms, and Mahler in their season finale performance
May 8, 2016, 3pm | Sanders Theatre
The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) will perform one of Debussy’s most beloved orchestral works Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Brahms’s fiercely wrenching Double Concerto with soloists violinist Hikaru Yonezaki and cellist Leland Ko, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 on Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 3pm, conducted by Benjamin Zander. 
The May 8 concert caps a wildly successful BPYO season, which began with a sold-out performance in Boston’s Symphony Hall. Would-be attendees were wrapped in line around the building, clamoring to hear the astounding ensemble. More than 400 people were turned away.  Of the performance, The Boston Globe raved it was “colorful…extroverted…lyric…vibrant…and vivid.” Boston’s ArtsFuse journal named the concert the Best Orchestral Performance in Boston in 2015.
In the four short years since its founding, the BPYO has garnered national and international praise and acclaim. Comprising 120 extraordinary musicians ages 12-21 who participate tuition-free, the members are chosen through a highly selective audition process. The orchestra members, who participate in weekly rehearsals at Boston’s Benjamin Franklin Institute, are among the brightest stars of the next generation of great instrumentalists.
Led by the dynamic and always inspiring Benjamin Zander, the BPYO is a proving ground not only for excellence in music, but also for the development of tomorrow’s future leaders. Leading and inspiring not only musicians but also the lay-listener is part of Zander’s life mission. His TED talk, The Transformational Power of Classical Music, is estimated to have been viewed by over ten million people. “The Art of Possibility”, a best-selling book written by Zander and leading psychologist Rosamund Zander, has been translated into 17 languages.
The BPYO mission, “shaping future leaders through music,” guides the organization and musicians in their daily lives and in the making of their music. Zander invites each musician to participate fully in preparing the performances by sharing their thoughts on the music, rehearsal process, and life experiences on their “white sheets”, thus opening up regular communication and conversation.
“Music is an even greater developer of character than athletics, the military, or anything else,” Zander says. “The more difficult the music, the more the young people feel inspired to rise to the occasion. There’s truly nothing like it for building character.”
BPYO musicians are rapidly emerging as some of the most sought after players in the country. Violinist Hikaru Yonezaki, soloist in the Brahmas Double Concerto in the May 8 program is a founding member of the BPYO. Raised in Newton, she currently attends the Juilliard School and travels from New York City to Boston weekly to continue her involvement with the BPYO, never missing a rehearsal. As a prize-winning violinist, she has used the BPYO mission to further her professional career as a leader among her peers.
Leland Ko, a 17-year-old cellist from Weston and the other soloist in the Brahms, is also a founding BPYO member. He has appeared as a soloist with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, in addition to being featured three times on National Public Radio’s “From the Top.” Furthering his leadership capabilities instilled by his involvement with the BPYO, Leland has participated in the “Center for the Development of Arts Leaders” program at the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Boston. Leland is the captain of his school’s varsity tennis team, and led the team to victory in the 2014 Division AII State Championship.
Of his experience performing with the BPYO Leland said in a recent “white sheet”, “As musicians and artists, we truly believe that feeding the soul is just as much part of being human as sleep and shelter and food and relationships. Being on stage, and having the chance to feed the souls of over 2,000 people is just an incredible idea. Music elevates us to new levels of emotional awareness, to unlock parts of us that make us human. Music creates a connection between people…and it all translates to the audience.”
The BPYO is not just a local phenomenon. The ensemble has performed at Carnegie Hall, completed two acclaimed European tours, and has released a recording of their New York performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 on Linn Records. The New York Times proclaimed that their Carnegie Hall debut was a “brilliantly played, fervently felt account.” Following the performance in Lucerne in 2015, the Neue Luzerner Zeitung wrote, “If you close your eyes you could think you were listening to the London Symphony Orchestra or the Seoul Philharmonic.” Of their inaugural European tour, the Dutch newspaper Trouw declared, “It was impressive to see how thoroughly these young people make their music…It’s not surprising, since everybody is explicitly invited–at the rehearsals–to think and engage in a dialogue with Zander about every note and the meaning behind it.”
Tickets for the May 8 performance range from $15 to $50 with $10 tickets available for students and are available online at, by calling the Boston Philharmonic Offices at (617) 236-0999 Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., or at the Sanders Theatre Box Office, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge.
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