“There’s a very real sense of joy and satisfaction in collaborating with these wonderful youth ensembles,” says Sergio Porto, Director, Tours & Projects when asked about this summer’s upcoming touring projects.
“In a time where music and arts education do not always receive the attention or funding they should,” he continues, “these ensembles are a testament to the ongoing power of music, and its appeal to young people from all cultures and backgrounds. It is truly a privilege for me and my colleagues to contribute in this way to the development of young musicians, and to give them an insight into the life of a professional touring musician.”
Over the years, Askonas Holt has organised tours for numerous youth ensembles, reflecting our ongoing commitment to supporting new generations of musical talent. In recent years, this has included tours and residencies for the National Youth Orchestra of the USA and its counterpart programme NYO Jazz, the newly-formed NYO China, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, the multi-national I, CULTURE Orchestra, and the European Union Youth Orchestra. Earlier this year we added Juilliard415 – the New York-based school’s primary period-instrument ensemble – to our roster with a one-off performance at Opera Holland Park.
Each project, in addition to performance opportunities at top venues, gives the students a chance to experience life on tour, to work with world-class soloists and conductors, and to engage with local culture and education activities in the countries they visit.
Summer 2019 sees our Tours & Projects department continue relationships with four of these exceptional ensembles: San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, NYO China, NYO-USA and NYO Jazz. In total, more than 300 young musicians will travel to cities across Europe and Asia, collectively giving over 20 performances.
San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (23 Jun to 4 Jul)
Alongside soloists Nicola Benedetti and Karen Gomyo, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and Music Director Christian Reif performed in Odense, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna and Budapest, receiving rave reviews for their performances of Tchaikovsky, Glanert and Mahler.
NYO-USA’s big band counterpart programme launched last year, with the first 24 musicians embarking on a tour of the UK, Netherlands and Germany. This year, they travel farther afield, giving debut performances in Hong Kong and mainland China. Artistic Director and trumpeter Sean Jones returns as bandleader, alongside GRAMMY Award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling.
Find out more about the ethos behind NYO Jazz in the article below:
NYO China (5 to 9 Aug)
Following their hugely successful inaugural tour in 2017, NYO China is reunited with conductor Ludovic Morlot for performances in Berlin, Snape and Bolzano. Garrick Ohlsson joins the tour as soloist, with the programme showcasing two iconic works from the western classical tradition alongside music from one of China’s leading composers, Ye Xiaogang.
Now in its seventh year, NYO-USA returns to both the BBC Proms and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and gives debut performances at the Edinburgh International Festival, the Young Euro Classic festival in Berlin, and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. Under conductor Sir Antonio Pappano, the orchestra performs Strauss’ Alpine Symphony and Prokofiev Symphony No. 5, works by NYO-USA’s two apprentice composers, Tyson J. Davis (Delicate Tension ) and Benjamin S. Beckman (Occidentalis), and Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with soloists Joyce DiDonato (Edinburgh, London, Amsterdam, Hamburg) and Dame Sarah Connolly (Berlin).