"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
Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Benjamin Zander, conductor
"Shaping future leaders through music."
An artistic institution of the 21st century, the BPYO provides an environment for musical excellence and leadership development that strengthens communication and deepens the human experience. BPYO offers a unique opportunity for young instrumentalists who want to study great orchestral repertoire in a musically dynamic and intellectually challenging community. BPYO members will be asked not only to master their parts and to gain a deep understanding of the musical score, but also to engage in dialogue with Mr. Zander, through weekly "white sheets," where they will be invited to share their thoughts on all aspects of the music and the rehearsal process. These conversations will often lead to stimulating discussions on personal leadership and effective contribution.
BPYO is a tuition-free, touring ensemble. Rehearsals take place on Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., and include a weekly hour long sectional and a two-hour, forty-five minute full orchestra rehearsal. BPYO repertoire for the inaugural season includes Strauss, Ein Heldenleben; and Mahler, Symphony No. 2; the November 25 BPYO concert features the Elgar Cello Concerto with soloist Alisa Weilerstein, recipient of a 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and Venezuelan guest conductor Rafael Payare, winner of the 2012 Malko Competition. The first two concerts are scheduled in Boston's Symphony Hall on November 25, 2012 and March 10, 2013. Other events in planning include a performance at the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra gala on April 27, a concerto concert for BPYO members in May, and a June tour to Holland, culminating in a performance in the Concertgebouw.
The Boston Philharmonic Board welcomes this new opportunity for the next generation of young musicians to experience Maestro Zander's unique brand of music-making, his passion and leadership.
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 Frequently Asked Questions
As of July 16, 2013
How do I schedule an audition?
-You can schedule an audition by completing the online audition form. You can also call the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra office at (617) 470-8382 with any questions. Fall auditions will take place in late August and early September. We will contact you after we receive your application form to schedule an audition time.
Can I send a DVD?
-Yes! You may send a DVD of your two contrasting audition selections to the Boston Philharmonic office at: Boston Philharmonic Orchestra / 295 Huntington Ave., Suite 210 / Boston, Massachusetts 02115. Please fill out the online audition form.
Can I use online videos like YouTube or Vimeo?
When do I hear if I made it in?
-Results of fall auditions will be communicated by September 13, 2013.
What questions will be asked in the audition interview?
-The motto of the BPYO is “shaping future leaders through music.” Please give some thought to how you hope to contribute to society with your music, how you would like to change the musical landscape, and what aspects of music you are most passionate about.
When do rehearsals take place?
-Saturdays, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.
What is the rehearsal format?
-Sectional rehearsal, 2:30 to 3:30; Full rehearsal, 3:45 to 6:30.
Who will lead the sectionals and how will they be structured?
-Leading Boston musicians, some members of the Boston Symphony and some principal players of the Boston Philharmonic, will direct the sectional rehearsal. Some sectionals will be for specific instruments and some for woodwind, brass, percussion, or strings.
When is the first rehearsal in the fall?
-September 14, 2013
Where are the rehearsals held?
-Rehearsals are held at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston's South End. There is a beautiful auditorium where the orchestra rehearses, which is modeled after Boston's Symphony Hall, as well as ample classroom space for sectional rehearsals, and plenty of space for parents and visitors to observe the rehearsals. The Franklin Institute is located very close to the Boston Ballet, Boston Center for the Arts, and Community Music Center of Boston. It's a lovely neighborhood, close to the T (Back Bay station) and with a number of parking options.
What concerts are scheduled for the 2012-2013 season?
-Three concerts are scheduled in Symphonuy Hall on November 15, 2013, March 7, 2014, and May18, 2014. BPYO will also perform at Carnegie Hall on December 9, 2013, and at Mechanics Hall in Worcester on March 9, 2014.
What repertoire is planned for next season?
-Repertoire will include Barber, Violin Concerto; Gandolfi, Selections from The Garden of Cosmic Speculation; Ginastera, Harp Concerto; Mahler, Symphony No. 5; Mozart, Overture to the Marriage of Figaro; Ravel, Piano Concerto in G; Ravel, Rapsodie Espagnole; Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5; Strauss, Don Quixote; Verdi, Overture to La Forza del Destino.
What age do I have to be to play in the BPYO?
-Players must be age 21 or younger on September 15, 2013. Exceptions will be considered for older players who are in their 3rd or 4th year of undergraduate college programs. Requests for age exceptions should be made at the live audition or in writing with the DVD/video submission.
Can you estimate the proportion of pre-college and college members?
-The current membership of the BPYO is about 60% pre-college, and 40% college age.
Will high school members have a chance to fill leadership positions?
-Yes, all players will be equally considered for principal chairs. In some instruments there may be multiple principal chairs.
Will the BPYO take tours?
-Yes! BPYo traveled to the Netherlands in June, 2013.
How will Mr. Zander guide the players in leadership skills?
-At the beginning of each rehearsal, Mr. Zander gives a weekly leadership assignment to members of BPYO. After each rehearsal players are asked to write reflections on the rehearsal and their experience in the BPYO, referred to as “white sheets.” These provide a unique ongoing dialogue between Mr. Zander and all of the players. Often players’ comments provide the impetus for significant discussions about the power of music, the role of musicians, and the mission of an orchestra like the BPYO, leading to the development of leadership capacity. From time to time Mr. Zander will also facilitate group discussions on the nature and practice of leadership. He is a highly sought-after international speaker on leadership, motivation, contribution, creative thinking and living a passion filled life. See http://www.ted.com/talks/
What is the relationship between the BPYO and the BPO?
-The BPYO is a division of the BPO not-for-profit corporation. The BPO serves as the management of the BPYO in all aspects, providing all musical, production, marketing and fiscal resources. BPYO members are invited to attend BPO performances, and are coached by members of BPO in rehearsals.