Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

Barber / Mozart / Mahler


Adagio for Strings

(8 minutes)

mozart                                         Symphony No. 35, "Haffner"

(20 minutes)

Symphony  No. 4  

(54 minutes)

There will be a 20 minute intermission before the Mahler

Benjamin Zander, conductor

Sofia fomina, soprano




As with the BPO, the first concert of the BPYO season is a direct response to the experiences we have all shared during the past year. Separated from each other for so long, we will return to Symphony Hall to hear the 70+ string players of the BPYO perform Barber’s heart-rending Adagio. From Barber’s sadness, we will move to Mozart’s exuberant symphony, the “Haffner.” No one can better help us celebrate life itself than Mozart, with his vitality, joy, and virtuosity (“as fast as possible” in the last movement, he urged the performers). Any suggestion that we could remain downcast is swept away. Mozart told his father that he rejoiced when he had an orchestra of 40 violins. With the BPYO, he will have 42!

And then Mahler’s Fourth—Mahler’s shortest and most appealing symphony. During this past year, each member of the BPYO had the opportunity to look at music as if from the point of view of the conductor. The piece we studied in detail each week on Zoom was Mahler’s Fourth. Each member had his or her own conducting score, as we delved deeply into the meaning and challenges of this exquisite masterpiece. Now they get to play it in Symphony Hall!

Light and charming on the surface, yet constantly plumbing the deep recesses, it is a vision of life and of the after-life, as seen from the viewpoint of a child who has suffered deprivation in this world, only to discover overflowing abundance in the next. The Fourth Symphony is possibly the most beautiful composition Mahler ever wrote. Leading Covent Garden soprano, Sofia Fomina, who can be heard on the recent London Philharmonic recording with Vladimir Jurowski, in her Boston premiere is our “as to the manner born” soloist.

Samuel Barber Adagio for Strings - 8 minutes

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  Symphony No. 35, "Haffner" - 20 minutes

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  wrote Symphony No. 35 in D major, also known as the Haffner Symphony, in 1782. The name Haffner is derived from the family who commissioned Mozart for the music.
  • The piece was first written as a serenade, The Haffner Serenade, to serve as background music for the ennoblement of Sigmund Haffner.
  • In 1782 Mozart re-worked the serenade into the Haffner Symphony in order to present the music in concert. The first performance took place on March 23, 1783, at the Vienna Burgtheater.
Gustav Mahler  Symphony No. 4 - 54 minutes
  • Soprano Sofia Fomina in her Boston debut! Has been praised for her "stunning silvery" sound joins the BPYO for Mahler's 4th to sing the beautiful fourth movement. Seen and Heard International raves: “Fomina was a totally convincing Isabelle, pure of voice and totally believable in terms of sheer beauty…She can project tenderness (the act II duet, ‘Avec bonte voyez mon peine’), yet she can also harness her abilities to generate truly exciting coloratura.”

  • Gustav Mahler's 4th Symphony was crafted around a single song, "Das himmlische Leben" ("The Heavenly Life"), meant to present a child's vision of heaven. The song is sung by a soprano in the fourth movement of the symphony.

  • The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra has received many accolades from their previous performances of Mahler. Pulitzer Prize winning critic Lloyd Schwartz praised their Mahler 9 performance "There’s no way this could possibly be a “youth orchestra” — it certainly doesn’t sound like one — not only technically but the way these staggeringly skillful players convey both the extraordinary power and the most intimate nuances of this masterpiece. This is one of the most thrilling Mahler performances I’ve ever heard."
  • Watch the Interpretation class from 2014 with Benjamin Zander coaching soprano Daye Lim on the 4th movement song of Mahler's Symphony No. 4.

All dates, repertoire, venues, and artists subject to change.

friday, November 19, 2021
8:00PM / Symphony Hall
There will be no pre-concert Guide to the music with Benjamin Zander before the concert.


COVID-19 Concert policies

  • Patrons attending concerts, concert staff, and volunteers must show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test along with an ID.
    • A negative COVID-19 test must either be a PCR test taken within the last 72 hours or an antigen test taken within the last 24 hours.
    • Proof of vaccination can be showing a vaccine card or a clear digital photograph of the vaccine card.
  • While indoors at Symphony Hall everyone must wear a CDC-approved mask that covers their nose and mouth regardless of vaccination status.

For the 2021-2022 concert season all concerts will be held at Symphony Hall. To help you plan your visit please read:

Symphony Hall Policies