2019-2020 Season

Jonathan Blumhofer reviews the BPYO's concert and live stream: "The BPYO was in particularly fine fettle in Berlioz’s harrowing “dramatic symphony.” Inspired by the composer’s obsession with the actress Harriett Smithson, the Symphonie famously depicts a love-addled artist on an opium trip that culminates with him murdering his beloved and being tormented by her (and a coven of witches) in hell.Thursday’s performance captured its ardent twists and turns vigorously. Tempos in the opening “Visions and Passions” were flexible, dynamics carefully balanced, and textures – even at the busy apex of the movement’s recapitulation – lucid."

Vance R. Koven writes about the live stream of the BPYO concert and live stream in general.

"in the right hands even a group of talented kids can give us the best Mahler of the year." -Lloyd Schwartz

"If there were an award for performances of standard fare played with fresh purpose and zest this fall, the Boston Philharmonic would have won it: their canonical October and November concerts teemed with energy, brilliance, color, and – above all – elemental life force...Of course, the common denominator between both groups is Benjamin Zander, who remains as spry, enthusiastic, and intellectually engaged a conductor as ever, even when he’s conducting pieces we’ve all heard countless times." -Jonathan Blumhofer

"Hearing this contingent for the first time, and, believe or not, Zander for the first time, I can attest as a satisfied listener and critic that much of the execution reached completely professional levels" -Crawford Best

"Once again Zander had drawn out the very best from these young players, and a delighted crowd in Symphony Hall made its gratitude seen and heard." -Jeremy Eichler

"Wonderful, then, and I'd also give an unqualified thumbs up to another, very different live performance from Benjamin Zander’s implausibly well-drilled Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. More volatile and unpredictable, the players’ energy is totally convincing." -Graham Rickson

BPYO Tour to Brazil.

Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra plays Strauss, Mendelssohn, and Mahler (November 24)

Boston’s best classical ensemble of 2019 (according to Boston Magazine – and I’m not about to argue with that assessment) returns to action with music by Mahler and Verdi framing a performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. The brilliant fiddler Stefan Jackiw is soloist in the latter. -Jonathan Blumhofer

2018-2019 season

Article about the Northeastern students who performed in the BPYO for the Brazil Tour. Article by Irvin Zhang.

About the BPYO Brazil Tour by Jonathan Blumhofer.

"Rising from the insuppressible enthusiasm of maestro Benjamin Zander—who founded the (senior) Boston Philharmonic Orchestra 40 years ago—this ensemble of fantastically talented 12- to 21-year-olds delivers exactly what you want from a night at the orchestra: to be blown away. Whether playing the notoriously difficult Mahler (one of the maestro’s specialties) or another canonical composer, they deliver youthful energy and just a touch of wonder." -Boston Magazine

BPYO Brazil Tour Review by Jonathan Blumhofer.

Mahler 6 Album review by John Quinn.

"One could not hope for brighter, more attractive and hope-inspiring emissaries from the America we hold dear. They can serve with certainty to summon our better angels." -Lee Eisman

Radio feature of the BPYO.

"there was no want of love in the orchestra’s playing, or in the interpretations of BPYO founder and conductor Benjamin Zander." -Jeffrey Gantz

"Surely, this is an orchestra that plays at a level rivalling top-flight ensembles. And, in Zander, they’ve got a dynamic conductor who’s both an inspiring teacher and experienced Mahlerian." -Jonathan Blumhofer

"This account of Mahler’s Ninth is a formidable achievement and all the more so when one considers that it is given by young musicians and that it is a live performance. It’s not just the technical accomplishment that has impressed me, however; it’s also the orchestra’s engagement with the music and their commitment. The performance is conducted superbly by Benjamin Zander and if his excellent booklet notes don’t convince you that he has thought deeply about the symphony then listening to his interpretation of it will do so. I can only say that each time I’ve listened to this performance I’ve been gripped by it from start to finish." -John Quinn

"If the idea of a youth orchestra tackling a work as deep and profound as Mahler's Symphony No. 9 appears incongruous, don't be deceived: under the unerring stewardship of Benjamin Zander (b. 1939), the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (founded by the conductor in 2012 and comprising 120 musicians ranging in age from twelve to twenty-one) delivers a mature performance that's not just credible but superb." – Ron Schepper

"Benjamin Zander’s 80th birthday celebration this season has, so far, resulted in some fine and, last weekend, revelatory performances by his Boston Philharmonic and Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO)." - Jonathan Blumhofer

"Playing with the kind of presence and passion you'd normally only expect from Euro versions of ensembles like this, the AFM needs to step up to make sure kids like this never have to take day jobs in order to keep the music alive. Just glorious." – Chris Spector

"For all of you who thought that the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, when it was conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, was just the berries as a young musical aggregation, you need to hear this recording. It’s really an impressive achievement." -Lynn Bayley

There was an elegiac quality to the BPYO’s spring season finale: the program was both a commemoration of the end of World War 1 and a farewell to the ensemble’s graduating members. And its inclusion of Ives’ visionary The Unanswered Question served as a memorial for guest conductor John Heiss’s son, Frank, who had died unexpectedly a few weeks earlier. The latter, given the full spatial treatment – string aureoles emanating from the lobby in Sanders Theater framing a solo trumpet up in the balcony and a quartet of flutes onstage – was this packed year’s unforgettable moment. Full review here. -Jonathan Blumhofer

"But listening to the overall enthusiasm and energy on display, I began to think that “Youth” in an orchestra’s name should be a positive." – Jeffrey Gantz

"Without question, this BPYO rendition of Shostakovich Ten was one of the most urgent and necessary of any symphonic score I’ve heard all year." – Jonathan Blumhofer

"The BPYO is way more than just a youth orchestra: it’s a world-class ensemble that happens to be made up (mostly) of teenagers. They return to action for the new season the Sunday after Thanksgiving with Anna Federova playing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 2 and music director Zander conducting further works by Carl Maria von Weber and Dmitri Shostakovich."  -Jonathan Blumhofer

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