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NYO-USA: Another First

As members of the 2015 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America gather this weekend at Purchase College, SUNY, for their training residency, Carnegie Hall's Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson previews the ensemble's third season.

After many months of planning, it’s our pleasure to welcome 114 of the country’s finest young musicians to New York this weekend as we bring together the acclaimed National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, now in its third year.

Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute was motivated to create the first-ever National Youth Orchestra of the USA because we felt it was a program that had to exist. Our goal was to shine a spotlight on the depth of great talent found all across the country. Through NYO-USA, we wanted to provide an extraordinary opportunity for the best young players—ages 16–19—to come together annually to train and perform at the highest level, also inviting them to serve as cultural ambassadors for the US, touring to important cultural capitals around the globe.

As we enter our third summer, everyone at Carnegie Hall continues to be greatly inspired by the program’s success. This year’s crop of brilliant young players—hailing from 37 US states—has now arrived at Purchase College, SUNY, excited and ready to dig into their two weeks of hard work and in-depth training. They’ll work with a dream team faculty made up of principal players from top American orchestras, an experience capped by a performance at Carnegie Hall, immediately followed by a journey halfway around the world.


NYO-USA breaks new ground with its touring program this year. After concerts in Moscow, St. Petersburg, London, and all across the US in the program’s first two years, the orchestra is thrilled to be making its debut this summer in China with a historic seven-performance tour. We kick off the tour in the capital city, Beijing, continuing on to some of country’s greatest concert halls over the next two weeks, traveling to many different regions of the country. The orchestra is honored to be working with world-renowned conductor Charles Dutoit and celebrated pianist YUNDI for these performances, presenting music by Beethoven and Berlioz as well as a new work with elements spanning Western and Eastern culture by groundbreaking composer Tan Dun, commissioned especially for NYO-USA.

We’ve long known and seen the tremendous impact of music bringing people together. With that in mind, we’re thrilled that the orchestra’s visit has been officially recognized and designated by the US and Chinese governments as one of only four Cultural Pillars of the Consultation on People to People Exchange, a program designed to enhance ties between citizens of our countries through culture. As part of their tour, alongside memorable concerts, our NYO-USA players will have the chance to interact with young Chinese musicians, participate in informal community performances, explore, and make fantastic new friendships through music.

As I write this, we’ve only just begun, and we have amazing musical and cultural discoveries ahead! Please join us. We invite you to experience NYO-USA on July 11—either live at Carnegie Hall or via our webcast on—and to follow this exciting tour at For these young musicians and all of us, it will be the journey of a lifetime.

NYO venues - National Centre for the Performing Arts (Hui Lan)
The National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing (Photography: Hui Lan)

Learn more about the concert halls that the orchestra will visit during their tour of China.

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