2023-2024 SEason News & Reviews

Fig City News: Newton high-school students return, awed, from European tour with Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

“Performing globally reminded me that music is a universal language and that it breaks [down] language barriers,” she says, “As a music major, I realized that I want to share the music I play not only for those that I’m close with, but for enthusiastic audiences many miles away.” -Clair Lee, BPYO violinist.  Read the full article on the Fig City News site.

The Lincoln Squirrel: Teen violist plays in the great halls of Europe

"Violist Margaux Hemant of Lincoln, a recent L-S graduate, is now in Europe as part of a two-week tour with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO), a tuition-free, 120-member ensemble of musicians age 12-21. The orchestra will perform a program including Schumann’s Cello Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in some of Europe’s most famous concert halls: the Stadtcasino in Basel, the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Musikverein in Vienna, and the Philharmonie in Berlin.

Margaux auditioned successfully for the BPYO last year because her grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, loved Zander’s master classes. “Those recordings brought her through tough times as the illness progressed,” she said." -Read the full article on the Lincoln Squirrel site.

klassik-begeistert.de Review: Elbphilharmonie: Alte Meister – junge Helden

"The master can do it! The fourth movement, this first-class elegy, is full of difficulty, and should it be possible to practice a little here and there? To say this would be pedantic: my Boston band simply cannot cope with the acoustics of our house during the pianissimi - what the dizzle! - but they manage it with great gusto, and enchantingly, with the strength that the gods give you for your youth! I have rarely been more cheerful after a concert!" Read it in German on the web.

Review on Facebook of the BPYO's concert in Vienna

Read the English Translation of the review

"Now the performance in the music club: Zander, now 85 years old, has managed, perhaps trained by his experiences as a motivational speaker, to shape the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra into an amazingly homogeneous body of sound, whose brass bandwinds last even in the finals and whose strings in the Adagietto let you hear a cantability that is more Tenderness drizzled in sweat.

The fact that Zander made the trumpet solo stand out super prominently and pushed the loudness of the climax to the limit of tolerance doesn't break an overall, more than remarkable performance. The evening will be remembered not only because of a remarkable performance of Mahler's Fifth, but also because he showed what achievements a charismatic musician can achieve with a youth orchestra sworn by him. The applause in the sold out hall to the last place was even more deafening than the symphony finale." -Edwin Baumgartner. Read the review on Facebook.

Review of the BPYO's concert in Vienna:Benjamin Zander, Zlatomir Fung & Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra w Musikverein

"As for Zander's interpretation on Sunday, to say it was intense would be like calling the Pacific a pool. The youth orchestra from Boston faced a very special challenge when appearing on the stage of the Musikverein. The artists came to the composer's city and played in the hall where he himself performed his works. No wonder it was a special baptism of fire for them. They had a lot to prove and they handled it with flying colors. " -Read the full article on their blog.     View the PDF of the article here.

The Belmont Voice: Six Belmont Musicians Set for European Summer Tour

"Later this month, six Belmont students will tour five European cities with the orchestra, performing in concert halls in the cradle of classical music. Daphne Lee, violinist; Ian Lee, violinist; Brian Lee, cellist; Jaiden Lee, cellist; Hailey Peck, violinist; Priscilla Lee, violinist, and Henry Monroe, cellist, will perform in some of Europe’s most famous concert halls, including the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Musikverein in Vienna, and the Stadtcasino in Basel, Switzerland." -Melissa Russell. Read the full article here.

Operaplus.cz: Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra zahrál lépe než mnohé profesionální soubory

Read the English translation here.

"...youth orchestra played with great verve. It was obvious that every player in the orchestra knew his part extremely well. Zander undoubtedly knows how to rehearse with the players and how to get the best out of them. He doesn't need to twist and sweat eccentrically during a concert, he manages to awaken their passion for the music he plays without it."

Read the full article on Operaplus website.

Klasikaplus.cz: Mladá svěžest a nadšení. Studentské těleso z Bostonu hrálo v Praze (Young freshness and enthusiasm. The student ensemble from Boston played in Prague) Czech news article

Read the English translation of the review here.

"Nothing could interfere with the enormous passion of the players and their conductor for the overall sound of the work."

Read the full article on the Klasikaplus website.

The Sun Chronicle: Along the Way: Mansfield violist to tour Europe

"Violist Kailash Elumalai of Mansfield is taking part in the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s five-city European tour from June 15-25. The members of the orchestra have been rehearsing all year, and they performed three times at Symphony Hall in Boston during the 2023-24 season, a spokesperson tells Along the Way. They will perform the program from their last concert, which included Schumann’s Cello Concerto with soloist Zlatomir Fung (originally from Westboro) and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, in some of Europe’s most famous concert halls, including the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany, the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Rudolfinum in Prague, Czech Republic, the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria, and the Stadtcasino in Basel, Switzerland. They will also engage in musical and cultural exchanges with local young people and youth orchestras." Read the article on The Sun Chronicle website. 

Fig City News: NNHS and NSHS students will tour Europe with Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, performing in top concert halls

FigCityNews-BPYO Tour-6.11.24"After a wonderful year of performances in Boston’s Symphony Hall, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra will tour Europe June 15-25, performing at the continent’s top five concert halls — Stadtcasino in Basel, Switzerland, Rudolfinum in Prague, Czech Republic, Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany, Musikvverein in Vienna, Austria, and Philharmonie in Germany. There, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra will showcase the orchestra’s young talent, including including students from both Newton North (cellist Hayden Ren) and Newton South (violists Olivia Hong and Hannah Lim, violinists Claire Lee and Abigail Shin, and cellist Steven Hu). Newton residents can keep up with the students’ travels via the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra blog." -Chloe Yu. Read the full article on FigCityNews.com.

Fifty Plus Advocate: Maestro Benjamin Zander of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra

“We musicians have the power to unlock the spirit that all human beings are born with that gets suppressed in most cases,” Zander suggested. “There is so much competition these days, especially among musicians. We reject all that! For us, it is about love and music. Music is a wonderful environment to express love.” -Benjamin Zander. Read the full article on Fifty Plus Advocate.com.

Grace Ueng: Conductor’s leadership hits a high note, offers example of possibility


Ben is on a mission to reduce the historically hierarchical role of the conductor. Each of his orchestral members gets a white sheet on their music stand.  This is their place to write down anything they are thinking and to put their name to it. The reason for attaching the name is so that Ben can have a private, follow-up conversation to better understand and then act on their feedback." -Grace Ueng. Read the full article. Or Listen to the discussion on YouTube.

ClassicalPoint.net: Interview mit Benjamin Zander

"How did it become so successful?

Many people are disillusioned with the old hierarchical, male leadership style that has dominated for the last 75,000 years.Winning and losing, success and failure, comparisons and measurements can only take us so far. Mandela and Martin Luther King, Ghandi and Jane Goodall were motivated by the vision of a better world for everyone, including wildlife and the environment. I have introduced the practices of the possible into the training of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra so that audiences hear and see energy, generosity, inclusivity, enthusiasm, vitality and love at their concerts."  -Interview von Florian Schär, Read the original German on Classicalp0int.net.


Boston Classical Review: Zander and BPYO try out program of romantic masters before European tour

"Cellist Zlatomir Fung returned to the BPYO as soloist in this performance. Fung offered a sprightly and tender rendering of the concerto, with his flexible and pleasant tone modulating easily through the work’s many moods. The opening chords of the first movement, followed by an expressive entrance by Fung, immediately centered the sensitive relationship between the soloist and the orchestra. The excellent balance between the two continued throughout, with the orchestra maintaining a support that made the delicacy and dynamic range in Fung’s interpretation evident in every phrase...Fung’s final cadenza finished the piece with a perfect combination of precision and virtuosity." -Katherine Horgan. Read the full review on BostonClassicalReview.com

Boston Musical Intelligencer: The BPYO Prepares for Europe

"It started well, with Reynolds Martin’s militant trumpet conveying the flüchtig (fleeting) for the final triplet of the opening tattoo. Zander’s reading was mournful rather than defiant, heavy-footed at times, but the overall tempo and timing approximated what Mahler himself left us in the piano roll of the Trauermarsch that he made in 1905. A neat Luftpause preceded the appearance of the consolatory Abgesang; I always think the first Trio (Plötzlich schneller. Leidenschaftlich. Wild) ought to go faster, but the tempo here matched the piano roll. Zander drew brilliant, crystalline playing from the orchestra"-Jeffrey Gantz. Read the full article on the Boston Musical Intelligencer site.

The Arts Fuse: Classical Music Preview: Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Season Finale

“This year has been, I think, the best musical year I’ve had with these two orchestras,” the loquacious Zander mentioned in closing. “It’s been consistent throughout the year. It’s been a really fabulous season and I’m really happy about it. And this is the culmination for the BPYO before it goes on tour.

“There’s nothing better to do on Friday night than hear this orchestra play. What else would people do that would be better? Of course, people get very excited about the sports teams – and most of them lose. But this orchestra never loses. It wins every game! And with the screaming, shouting, and carrying on at the end – why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?” -Jonathan Blumhofer, Read the full article on The Arts Fuse.

The Swellesley Report: Wellesley POPS Senior Profile: Violinist William Prentice orchestrates excellence

"Outside of the high school, Prentice plays in the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO), one of the premier youth orchestras in the greater Boston area, practicing there for four hours ev­ery Saturday. He plans to tour internationally with the BPYO in Germany and Austria this June. " 

WBUR: A comprehensive guide to springs classical music performances

APRIL 26 & MAY 3

"Benjamin Zander’s final program of the season with his justly renowned Boston Philharmonic Orchestra consists of two of the most profound works of classical music: Mozart’s darkly insinuating Piano Concerto No. 24 in C-minor, with the magnificent Alessandro Deljavan; and, marking the 200th anniversary of Bruckner’s birth, his unfinished Ninth Symphony, an overwhelming spiritual epic (April 26).

Zander will also lead the impressive Boston Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra in another inspired pairing of concerto and symphony — this time Schumann’s Cello Concerto, with cellist Zlatomir Fung making a welcome return, and Mahler’s immense and autobiographical Symphony No. 5, another Zander specialty (May 3)." -Lloyd Schwartz, Read the full article at WBUR.org.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer: 45, 85: A Triumphant Celebration

"Challenging music comes with high risk. But as the saying goes – the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward – and what a reward it was! Zander gave deep thought to his bold choices. Each piece held some connection to Boston (some connections more apparent than others), and also held significance to Zander’s life, BPYO as an organization, and the talented youth making up the orchestra...While the ages of the ensemble range from 12 – 21, close your eyes and you would imagine mature professionals...Fedorova moved through each movement with command. Her tireless fingers are an orchestra all in one. Her expressive freedom while maintaining clarity of articulation captivated us. Thanks to her stylization, we’d been invited to the conversation with Tchaikovsky...BPYO rose to the challenge of performing Ravel’s famed Daphnis et Chloé in Symphony Hall, where the Boston Symphony Orchestra has laid claim to it. The orchestra shone with brilliant displays of dynamic contrast, phrasing, and balance. You could see and feel the joy and the enthusiasm! The orchestra’s vitality especially shone in the zest of the fortes. The orchestra delivered strength throughout. We were witnessing the emergence of the next generation of top orchestral personnel." -Stephanie Beatrice. Read the full article on the Boston Musical Intelligencer site.

The Arts Fuse:Concert and Album Reviews: Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra plays Britten, Tchaikovsky, Ives, and Ravel — Isabelle Faust plays Britten

"The Second Suite from Ravel’s Daphnis at Chloé, a work that Zander noted, the Boston Symphony all but owns, sounded in this young orchestra’s hands fully BSO-worthy. Throughout, the BPYO’s woodwind playing was superb, especially Sadie Goodman’s solos in the “Pantomime.”

Likewise engaging were the “Four Sea Interludes” from Britten’s Peter Grimes, which emerged with spirit and color, both in delicate movements (the mesmeric “Dawn”) and violent ones (the teeming “Storm”)." -Jonathan Blumhofer. Read the full article on The Arts Fuse.org.

Boston Classical Review: Young climbers of BPYO scale peaks of early 20th-century music

"Zander’s comments on the concerto focused...on the soloist, the Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova—admiring her work for humanitarian relief to her war-torn country, and her style of playing, which Zander described as having “rhythmic freedom that looks back to when music was a living, breathing thing.” The proof of that pudding was in the playing, and sure enough, after crisply executing the concerto’s opening pages, Federova luxuriantly stretched out her first solo passage, then dared conductor and orchestra to keep up with her alternately dreamy and impetuous playing. Which they did, to marvelous effect. The first movement’s wonderful building-up-steam coda paid off handsomely, drawing whoops and excited applause from the audience." -David Wright. Read the full article at Boston Classical Review.com.

WGBH: How a pianist is helping fellow Ukrainians amid Russia’s invasion

"Throughout the last two years, Fedorova has also been an activist for victims of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, raising money for humanitarian organizations and performing with the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra. She spoke about her work and upcoming performance with GBH's All Things Considered host Arun Rath. What follows is a lightly edited transcript." -Diego Lopez and Arun Rath. Read the article on WGBH.og.

The Boston Herald: Benjamin Zander still igniting passion for classical music

"A few days before his 85th birthday, Benjamin Zander will lead the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra through a program as awesome as it is unlikely. The March 3 Symphony Hall concert will run through a selection from a Benjamin Britten opera, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, ragtime and Stephen Foster inspired ''Three Places in New England," and the sweeping Suite No. 2 from Ravel's "Daphnis et Chloe."  "It's the most ambitious program I have ever put together;' Zander told the Herald. "It would be a challenge for any orchestra because the sounds of those four pieces are totally different so you have to train an orchestra to switch from (piece to piece)." -Jeb Gottlieb. Read the full article on The Boston Herald.com.

The Patch: Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Concert Celebrating Conductor Benjamin Zander's 85th Birthday!

"The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO), composed of musicians age 12-21, will celebrate the 85th birthday of their founder and conductor Benjamin Zander on Sunday, March 3, at 3:00 PM at Symphony Hall. The concert, which coincides with the Boston Philharmonic's 45th season, allows both in-person and livestream audiences around the world to join in the birthday celebration..." Read the full listing on the Patch.com.

The Arts Fuse: Classical Album & Streaming Reviews: “Spanish Impressions,” Boston Philharmonic Orchestra & Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in Concert

"Afterwards came the Brahms First Symphony in a reading that was full of color and direction, the reflective moments warm and well-blended, the fast ones snapping right along. Despite a few hiccups in the ensemble in the last two movements, the BPYO’s performance didn’t stint on might or character...Indeed, Zander’s grasp of the music’s architecture ensured a purposeful flow. For icing (as it were), virtually all the Symphony’s solos — particularly those from concertmaster Darwin Chang and principal horn Graham Lovely — were dispatched with elegance and majesty." -Jonathan Blumhofer, Read the article on The Arts Fuse.

Boston Musical Intelligencer: BPYO Elevates Wagner, Hindemith, and Brahms

"The highly charged youths strutted out in impressive concertante style. The Allegro opened with détaché precision as component parts interlocked like an elegant picture puzzle while the players expressed unalloyed joy in the pleasures of intricate music-making. The sinuous, keening oboe of Robert Diaz made a dazzling impression as did the flute, clarinet and piccolo follow-ups. The criss-cross cadenza of the seemingly six-armed timpanist Ritvik Yaparpalvi almost stopped the show." -Lee Eisman, Read the full article on The Boston Musical Intelligencer site.

Boston Classical Review: Boston Phil Youth Orchestra tackles cornerstone works with rich tone and heartening spirit

"The orchestra played this with great elan, the feeling they were having fun. Instrumental solos were lively and polished...Where this group really shined was in how they took to the music’s rhythms, young players tend to be rhythmically flexible and their playing had something close to swing to it. That was terrific. The orchestra continued to impress in the Brahms symphony. Again, the weight of their sound and variety of color were excellent...This would have been an impressive performance for any professional orchestra." -George Grella, Read the full article at Boston Classical Review.

Boston Globe: Milestones at Symphony Hall, fun beneath the Colosseum, and binoculars for the birds


Celebrate Boston Philharmonic’s 45th season at Boston’s Symphony Hall along with the 85th birthday of the founder and conductor Benjamin Zander. The ensemble of student, professional, and amateur musicians will be performing carefully curated programs of symphonic masterworks, including Beethoven, Shostakovich, Mahler, Bruckner, and more. The season includes four Boston Philharmonic Orchestra concerts and three Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra concerts, kicking off Oct. 20 and ending May 3. Prior to each concert, Zander will offer a deeper understanding of the works in the program with his legendary “Guide to the Music” talks. -Necee Regis. Read the article at The BostonGlobe.com.

WBUR: A comprehensive guide to fall's classical music performances

"Zander is also the founder and conductor of the astonishing Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, which has one ambitious fall concert on the docket including Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” Overture, Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber, and the Brahms First Symphony (Symphony Hall, Nov. 5)." -Lloyd Schwartz. Read the full article including the video on WBUR.org.

The Boston Globe: 10 classical music attractions to enliven your autumn

"BOSTON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA The Boston Philharmonic fetes the 85th birthday of founder/conductor Benjamin Zander with two fall concerts, the first featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and former Berliner Philharmoniker concert master Guy Braunstein in Elgar’s Violin Concerto (Oct. 20) and the second a 20th-century program of Britten, Bartók, and Shostakovich (Nov. 17). The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra gets in on the action, too, with an all-German program of Wagner, Hindemith, and Brahms(Nov. 5). 617-236-0999, www.bostonphil.org" -A. Z. Madonna, read it on The Boston Globe.


New call-to-action