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Carnegie Hall Announces Teen Musicians Selected for the 2018 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America

Created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, Prestigious National Program Recognizes Finest Young Musicians from Across the Country, Ages 16-19

Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas Leads July Performances in New York, China, as well as Debut Concerts in Taipei, Seoul, and Daejeon As Part of Orchestra’s Summer 2018 Asia Tour

NYO-USA’s 2018 Program Includes Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F Major Featuring Acclaimed Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2, and World Premiere of a New Carnegie Hall–Commissioned Work by Ted Hearne

(March 6, 2018; NEW YORK, NY)—Carnegie Hall today announced the names of the 106 outstanding young musicians selected from across the country for the sixth annual National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA). The members of the 2018 orchestra—ages 16-19, hailing from 28 US states plus Puerto Rico—have been recognized by Carnegie Hall as being among the finest players in the country following a comprehensive and highly competitive audition process. This summer’s orchestra will feature 36 musicians who previously played with NYO-USA, as well as 18 musicians who gained experience through NYO2, a program for younger players ages 14-17, with a particular focus on attracting talented students from communities underserved by, and underrepresented in, the classical orchestral field. NYO-USA and NYO2 are both free for all participants, ensuring that all invited musicians have the opportunity to take part in these prestigious national programs.

See below or click here for the names, instruments, and hometowns of the members of the 2018 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.

In July 2018, NYO-USA will travel to Asia with world-renowned conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, presenting a new work by composer Ted Hearne, specially commissioned by Carnegie Hall for NYO-USA, alongside Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2 and Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F Major with acclaimed pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. As part of their intensive three-week New York training residency in preparation for their tour, the musicians of NYO-USA will take part in a free side-by-side rehearsal and performance with NYO2 and local musicians from the New York City area at 583 Park Avenue (July 7). They have also been invited to perform chamber music at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (July 15). NYO-USA then takes the Carnegie Hall stage for its annual concert (July 19), to be heard by music lovers worldwide via the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast and digital series, created in partnership with WQXR. Tickets for the Carnegie Hall performance are on sale now at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, or at carnegiehall.org.

Following their New York appearances, NYO-USA flies to Asia for a tour of some of the continent’s music capitals, including performances in TaipeiShanghaiBeijingSeoul, and Daejeon. This tour builds on NYO-USA’s historic inaugural tour to China in July 2015, which included seven concerts across the country and which was designated as one of only four Cultural Pillars of the Consultation on People to People Exchange (CPE) between the USA and China, acknowledging the power of music and the arts to bring people together. This summer’s tour will include debut performances in Taipei and South Korea, with opportunities for the NYO-USA musicians to tour each city they visit, meet local young musicians, and experience the richness of Asian culture.

“We are thrilled to have the National Youth Orchestra of the USA returning to Asia in summer 2018 under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. “The musicians who make up NYO-USA’s 2018 roster are among the very best players in the country. This promises to be an unforgettable summer of new discoveries for them, offering opportunities to present extraordinary performances around the world and to serve as wonderful musical ambassadors for their country.”

NYO-USA musicians will arrive in New York in early July 2018 to begin their three-week training residency on the campus of Purchase College, SUNY, working with principal players from some of the finest professional orchestras. James Ross, music director of the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès in Spain, returns to lead the NYO-USA faculty for a sixth year. Ruth Reinhardt, Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, will serve as assistant conductor, and Joseph Young, Artistic Director of Ensembles at the Peabody Institute, will also work with NYO-USA and NYO2 as resident conductor. The faculty will oversee rehearsals during the orchestra’s residency in Purchase and will also lead master classes, chamber music readings, and other seminars on essential music skills, all leading up to the launch of NYO-USA’s annual tour.

For the third summer, two young musicians have been selected as apprentice composers for NYO-USA. During the Purchase residency, they will have the opportunity to workshop their music with members of the orchestra. Celebrated American composer Sean Shepherd (whose work Magiya was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the inaugural NYO-USA in 2013) will serve as mentor and teacher for the young composers for the third straight season, and they will also have the opportunity to meet this year’s featured composer, Ted Hearne. The apprentice composers join an apprentice orchestra manager, apprentice librarian, and two apprentice conductors as touring members of the 2018 NYO-USA. 

2018 Orchestra Roster 

* Prior NYO-USA member
+ Prior NYO2 member


Fiyifolu Adebekun, Violin (Gilbert) *
Alexander Mayer, Oboe (Phoenix)
Joshua Chiang, Cello (San Jose) *
Jeremy Davis, Timpani/Percussion (Diamond Bar) *
Khoi Dinh, Flute (Los Angeles) +
Erica Yeawon Hwang, Violin (San Diego) *
Annie SeEun Hyung, Cello (Orange) *
Sofia Matthews, Violin (Berkeley)
Ethan Moffitt, Bass (Glendale)
Javier Morales-Martinez, Clarinet (Los Angeles) +
Julian Seney, Viola (Los Angeles)
Clare Phelps, Horn (Darien)
Kate Wegener, Oboe (Easton) *
Nicholas Abrahams, Violin (Boca Raton)
Anabel Carvajal, Violin (Miami) +
Julian Gonzalez, Bassoon (Miami) +
Matthew Hakkarainen, Violin (Palm Beach Gardens)
Alex Koller, Viola (Orlando) *
Kofi Kwapong, Clarinet (Sarasota)
Charlotte Loukola, Violin (West Palm Beach)
Megan Savage, Cello (Port St. Lucie)
Jakob Schoenfeld, Timpani/Percussion (Oviedo)
Anabel Tejeda, Viola (West Palm Beach)
Cameren Anai Williams, Viola (West Palm Beach)
Sophia Yiwen Zheng, Violin (West Palm Beach)
Elise Arancio, Apprentice Composer (Tucker)
Julia Su, Violin (Marietta) +
Alisha Zamore, Clarinet (Stockbridge)
Nick Jack Agliata III, Apprentice Orchestra Librarian (Oakbrook)
Haddon Kay, Cello (Chicago)
Megan Martin, Trombone (Grayslake)
Samuel Stout, Trumpet (Grand Ridge)
Quincey Trojanowski, Bassoon (Hillside)
Hannah Duncan, Violin (Belle Plaine) *
Ryan Jeong, Violin (Ames)
Brandon Aponte, Violin (Blue Hill)
Vincent Igusa, Bassoon (Baltimore) +
Kara Poling, Oboe (Reisterstown) +
Wilson Hsu, Viola (Brookline)
Richard Kaminuma, Apprentice Conductor (Chelmsford)
Eric Zaks, Cello (Needham)
Amelia Abouljoud, Viola (Detroit) +
Elizabeth Nguyen, Viola (Clayton)
Antonio Jarvey, Apprentice Orchestra Manager (Great Falls)
Jordan Farber, Bassoon (Las Vegas)
New Hampshire
Roric Cunningham, Cello (Manchester)
Simon Herron, Timpani/Percussion (Hanover) *
New Jersey
Clara Bouch, Viola (Cherry Hill)
Juliette Duguid, Viola (Westfield) * +
Kingston Ho, Violin (New Providence) * +
Faustina Housner, Violin (Cherry Hill)
Simon Housner, Cello (Cherry Hill) *
Alyssa Kim, Violin (River Edge) *
Robin Park, Cello (Princeton Junction)
David Stein, Tuba (Morristown)
Justin Zeitlinger, Apprentice Composer (Dumont)
New York
Remi Beltran, Trumpet (Nanuet)
Claire Cai, Violin (Mount Sinai) *
Ryan Chung, Cello (Manhasset) *
Epongue Ekille, Violin (Rochester) +
August Haller, Horn (Brooklyn) *
Alexandra Hong, Viola (Manhasset) +
Brian Isaacs, Viola (Forest Hills)
Christina Morris, Apprentice Conductor (Freeport)
Rohun Rajpal, Violin (Eastchester)
Adrian Rogers, Violin (Bronx)
William Swett, Bass (New York) *
Annalisa Welinder, Violin (Port Jefferson) *
North Carolina
Quenton Xavier Blache, Cello (Wake Forest)
Drew Dansby, Violin (Charlotte) *
Ella Sharpe, Bass (Winston Salem) *
Mitchell Ballester, Bass (Dayton)
Lindsey Wong, Flute (Cincinnati)
Simon Luke Brown, Violin (Davis) *
Akili Farrow, Violin (Philadelphia)
Rachel Martin, Bass (Pittsburgh) *
Johnny May, Violin (Penn Valley) *
Noah Stein, Trombone (Yardley)
Alexander Wu, Cello (Penn Valley) *
Puerto Rico
Javier Fernando Torres-Delgado, Violin (San Juan) +
South Carolina
Will Harris, Timpani/Percussion (Greenville)
Sam Parrini, Violin (Greenville)
Kevin Bai, Violin (Plano) *
Nathan Cloeter, Horn (Lake Jackson) * +
Shania Cordoba, Trumpet (El Paso)
Peter Davies, Oboe (Dallas) *
Matthew Garcia, Viola (Harlingen) * +
Diego Garza-Romero, Bass (Edinburg) * +
Jonathan Jalbert, Clarinet (Meadows Place) *
Yong Ha Jung, Viola (Flower Mound)
Pablo Kennedy, Bass (Austin) *
Haeun Moon, Violin (Waco)
Scott Sanders, Horn (Mansfield) *
David Schonberger, Bass Trombone (El Paso) * +
Alyssa Tinsley, Flute (Kingwood)
Jason Wang, Violin (Keller) *
Sophie Choate, Viola (Provo) *
Dimitrios Mattas, Bass (Fruit Heights) *
Andrew Gantzer, Bass (Centreville)
Forrest Johnston, Trumpet (Great Falls)
Gaby Pho, Horn (Annandale)
Symphony Koss, Violin (Vancouver)
Kristy Park, Cello (Bellevue)
Phoebe Rawn, Flute (Seattle)
West Virginia
Devin Lai, Violin (Morgantown) +
Arianna Brusubardis, Violin (Dousman)


About the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America

Each summer, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute brings together the finest young musicians from across the country (ages 16-19) to form the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA). Following a comprehensive audition process and a three-week training residency at Purchase College, State University of New York, with faculty made up of principal players from top professional orchestras, these remarkable teenagers embark on a tour to some of the great music capitals of the world, serving as America’s dynamic music ambassadors.

Launched in summer 2013 to great acclaim, the first-ever National Youth Orchestra of the USA presented concerts with conductor Valery Gergiev and violinist Joshua Bell to enthusiastic audiences at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC; St. Petersburg and Moscow in Russia; and at the BBC Proms in London. The 2014 orchestra, led by American conductor David Robertson with violinist Gil Shaham as soloist, made its debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City, followed by a coast-to-coast US tour. In 2015, NYO-USA, with conductor Charles Dutoit and pianist YUNDI, made its debut in China, performing at some of the country’s greatest concert halls, including stops in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Xi’an, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. In 2016, the orchestra performed with conductor Christoph Eschenbach and pianist Emanuel Ax at Carnegie Hall before embarking on a European tour with Valery Gergiev and Denis Matsuev. Last summer, the orchestra traveled to Latin America for the first time, performing in Guadalajara, Mexico, Quito, Ecuador, and Bogotá, Colombia under the direction of Marin Alsop.

In 2019, NYO-USA returns to Europe with conductor Sir Antonio Pappano and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. 

* * * * *

Lead Donors: Hope and Robert F. Smith; Marina Kellen French and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; Beatrice Santo Domingo; and Nicola and Beatrice Bulgari.

NYO-USA Sponsor: United Airlines®.

Additional funding has been provided by the Jack Benny Family Foundation; the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation; JMCMRJ Sorrell Foundation; and Jolyon Stern and Nelle Nugent.

Founder Patrons; Blavatnik Family Foundation; Nicola and Beatrice Bulgari; The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Marina Kellen French and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation; Ronald O. Perelman; Robertson Foundation; Beatrice Santo Domingo; Hope and Robert F. Smith; Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon; and Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation.

Support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by members of Carnegie Hall’s Composer Club.

Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.

* * * * *

To learn more about NYO-USA, visit carnegiehall.org/nyousa.
Like NYO-USA on Facebook at facebook.com/nyousa.
Follow NYO-USA on Twitter at #NYOUSA.
See more from NYO-USA on YouTube at youtube.com/nyousa.

Image at the top of release courtesy of Carnegie Hall

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