In summer 2016, NYO-USA performed two ambitious programs with two renowned conductors: Christoph Eschenbach and Valery Gergiev. In order to prepare two complete concerts, NYO-USA musicians had a longer residency at Purchase College, rehearsing for three full weeks leading up to the six-concert tour. James Ross, director of orchestral activities at the University of Maryland, returned to lead the NYO-USA faculty for a fourth consecutive year, made up of principal players from some of the country’s finest professional orchestras.
For the first time, two young musicians were selected as apprentice composers for NYO-USA. During the Purchase residency, they had the opportunity to have their music workshopped with musicians from the orchestra, providing experience with orchestration and writing for larger forces and creating opportunities for dialogue between instrumentalists and composers who are peers. American composer Sean Shepherd served as a mentor and teacher for the young composers. The apprentice composers joined an apprentice orchestra manager, apprentice librarian, and two apprentice conductors as members of the 2016 NYO-USA orchestra.
During July 4th weekend, NYO-USA musicians joined their peers in NYO2 for a weekend of activities in Philadelphia. The NYO-USA brass section performed for tens of thousands of fans during postgame festivities at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, and the NYO-USA percussion section performed before The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Neighborhood Concert at Penn’s Landing. The weekend culminated in a side-by-side performance at the 23rd Street Armory on the morning of Sunday, July 3.
Following the Philadelphia weekend and another week of rehearsals, the orchestra took the stage at the Performing Arts Center in Purchase and Carnegie Hall, with Mr. Eschenbach leading the ensemble in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major, K. 482—featuring pianist Emanuel Ax as soloist—alongside Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A Major. While in New York, several members of the orchestra also participated in the Music Educators Workshop, a Carnegie Hall program that gives music teachers from around the country the opportunity to hone their craft and learn from expert guest faculty.
The European Tour
After performing at Carnegie Hall, NYO-USA flew to Amsterdam, joining Mr. Gergiev and pianist Denis Matsuev for rehearsals in preparation for the performance of a brand-new program at the legendary Royal Concertgebouw. With several days to explore the city, the musicians toured the many canals, windmills, and bridges that dot the landscape, sampled the food, and viewed the works of the Dutch masters at the famed Rijksmuseum. A special reception was also held at the United States Consulate to salute NYO-USA’s Amsterdam debut and launch of the orchestra’s 2016 European tour.
Rehearsals were held at NedPhO-Koepel, the rehearsal hall for the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. The new program included Debussy’s Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3; and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 4 and selections from Romeo and Juliet. The concert—part of the Royal Concertgebouw’s Robeco SummerNights series—was streamed live around the globe thanks to a partnership with medici.tv, and is now archived online on the NYO-USA YouTube channel.
Following their sold-out show in Amsterdam, NYO-USA’s tour continued with a performance the next evening at the Opéra Berlioz in Montpellier as part of the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, broadcast to listeners nationwide by Radio France. The musicians logged more miles the next morning, flying to Copenhagen. A tour of the historical sites included the Marble Church and the Amalienborg Palace, home of the Danish royal family. An afternoon boat cruise took them by Copenhagen’s Old Stock Exchange, one of the oldest buildings in the city, and the newly-built opera house, home of the Danish National Opera. The next day, the orchestra took the stage for their third concert of the European tour, this time in Tivoli Concert Hall, located in the heart of Tivoli Gardens, the famous amusement park and pleasure garden in central Copenhagen. After a successful final performance with pianist Denis Matsuev, the musicians enjoyed a rare evening off, lining up for thrilling roller coaster rides.
The final stop on the tour was Prague’s Smetana Hall, an Art Nouveau–style music hall filled with sculptures and paintings, topped by an exquisite glass dome. With Mr. Matsuev absent for this final performance, the orchestra added one more work to their repertoire, replacing the Rachmaninoff piano concerto with Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, “Italian.” As the last notes sounded, the musicians celebrated the emotional conclusion to an exhausting and fulfilling tour. A final sightseeing day gave the musicians the opportunity to see the city and enjoy new friendships that will undoubtedly last for a long time to come.
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major, K. 482
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 6
DEBUSSY Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 4, “Italian”
PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 4, Selections from Romeo and Juliet
Meet the Orchestra
Sein An, West Chester, PA *
Joseph Bates, Tulsa, OK
Anna Black, Eagle, ID
Julie Choe, Pittsburgh, PA
Jonathan Chu, San Francisco, CA
Annabel Chyung, Miami, FL *
Travon DeLeon, South Bend, IN
Akshay Dinakar, Prairie Village, KS *
Claire Geho, Twinsburg, OH
Neil Goh, North Wales, PA *
Chloe Harvel, Brentwood, TN
Evan Falls Hjort, Fall City, WA *
David Horak, Norwich, VT
Bronwyn James, Seattle, WA *
Evan Johanson, Seattle, WA *
Nicholas Kim, Clarksville, MD
Seoyeon Kim, Falmouth, ME *
Cheyenne J. King, Philadelphia, PA
Ethan Le, Katy, TX
Andrew Lee, Los Altos Hills, CA
Ziqi Meng, Pittsburgh, PA
Fumika Mizuno, Portland, OR *
Devin Moore, Pittsburgh, PA
Soyeong Park, Princeton Junction, NJ *
Emilia Sharpe, Winston Salem, NC
Emily Shehi, Olathe, KS
Jason Vassiliou, Berwyn, PA *
Samuel Wang, Medford, NJ *
Rosie Weiss, Billings, MT *
Katherine Woo, Greer, SC
Alan Yao, Scarsdale, NY
William Yao, Barrington, RI *
Hannah Burnett, Waco, TX *
Kayla Cabrera, Crete, IL
Jim Cunningham IV, Pittsburgh, PA
Emma DeJarnette, Snellville, GA
Lydia Grimes, Shoreview, MN
Andrew Hughes, Old Tappan, NJ
Sean Juhl, New York, NY
James Kang, Lawrenceville, GA
Sae Rheen Kim, New York, NY
Daniel Miles, Puyallup, WA
Faith Pak, Auburndale, NY *
Nick Pelletier, Duluth, GA *
Kevonna Shuford, West Palm Beach, FL
Elizabeth Geena Woo, Radnor, PA
David Bender, Nashville, TN
Ryan Chung, Manhasset, NY
Simon Housner, Cherry Hill, NJ
David Kim, East Brunswick, NJ *
Leonardo Ko, Blauvelt, NY
Ben Lanners, Stillwater, OK *
Minku Lee, Palo Alto, CA *
Allison Park, Dunn Loring, VA
Dana Rath, Lawrence, KS
Henry Shapard, Cleveland Heights, OH *
Lucie Ticho, Chicago, IL
Joy Zhao, Chalfont, PA
Taylor Abbitt, Ballston Lake, NY *
Nina Bernat, Iowa City, IA
Marguerite Cox, Hudson, OH *
Harry Dearman, Denton, TX
Michael Gabriel, Manhasset, NY
Ella Sharpe, Winston Salem, NC
William Swett, New York, NY
Ryan Wahidi, Creve Coeur, MO *
Chad Wesselkamper, Cincinnati, OH *
Elise Kim, Mukilteo, WA
Alejandro Lombo, Miramar, FL *
Jessica Shand, Colorado Springs, CO
Mei Stone, Waco, TX *
Sarrah Bushara, Eden Prairie, MN *
Elias Medina-Brewster, Miami, FL
David Norville, Fort Myers, FL
Bobby Nunes, Mesa, AZ *
Sara Han, Interlochen, MI *
Jonathan Jalbert, Houston, TX
Daniel Kim, Skillman, NJ
Jay Shankar, San Diego, CA
Joshua Elmore, Shaker Heights, OH *
Corbin Krebs, Las Vegas, NV *
Timothy Ruszala, Fairfield, NJ
Reuben Stern, Needham, MA *
Andrew Angelos, Seattle, WA *
Elisabeth Pesavento, Interlochen, MI
Jamie Pfauth, San Diego, CA
Emma Shaw, Tampa, FL
Michael Stevens, East Islip, NY *
Jamie Gorski, Little Canada, MN
Charles Stuedemann, Geneva, IL
James Vaughen, Champaign, IL *
Megan Wade, Friendswood, TX
Connor Rowe, Lompoc, CA
Ethan Shrier, Potomac, MD *
Marco A. Gómez, Miami, FL
Alec Mawrence, Northbrook, IL
Timpani and Percussion
Omar El-Abidin, Wall, NJ
Nitish Jindal, Dallas, TX
Evan Jose, San Antonio, TX
Justin Kang, Gilbert, AZ
Adam Phan, Dallas, TX *
Elizabeth Yeoh-Wang, New York, NY
Patrick Magee, Dallas, TX
Elizabeth Egan, New York, NY
Paul Novak, Reno, NV
Eric Meincke, Little Rock, AR
Ryan Zhang, West Windsor, NJ
Orchestra Library Apprentice
Ethan Russo, Austin, TX
Orchestra Management Apprentice
Mikaela Chang, Closter, NJ
* Returning NYO-USA member
Christoph Eschenbach, Conductor
Christoph Eschenbach—music director of both the National Symphony Orchestra and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts—is in great demand by the finest orchestras and opera houses across the world. Now in his sixth season, he has led the National Symphony Orchestra on multiple international tours. In addition, Mr. Eschenbach appears as pianist on the Fortas Chamber Music Concerts and other series at the Kennedy Center. His season highlights also include engagements with the Royal Stockholm and Vienna philharmonic orchestras.
A prolific recording artist, Mr. Eschenbach has an impressive discography. As a conductor, he has recorded with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Sinfonieorchester, and Houston Symphony. His recordings have received prestigious honors, including the 2014 Grammy for Best Classical Compendium, BBC Music Magazine’s Disc of the Month, Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice, and the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik. His Ondine recording of the music of Kaija Saariaho with the Orchestre de Paris and soprano Karita Mattila won the 2009 MIDEM Classical Award in Contemporary Music. Of particular note is his recording and filming of the full cycle of Mahler symphonies with the Orchestre de Paris, available on his website for free streaming.
Mentored by George Szell and Herbert von Karajan, Mr. Eschenbach has enjoyed a career that has included music directorships of the Orchestre de Paris (2000–2010), The Philadelphia Orchestra (2003–2008), Ravinia Festival (1994–2003), NDR Sinfonieorchester (1998–2004), and Houston Symphony (1988–1999). He has also served as artistic director of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival (1999–2002) and as chief conductor and artistic director of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich (1982–1986).
Mr. Eschenbach’s many honors include the 2015 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and the Officer’s Cross and Commander’s Cross of the German Order of Merit. He also received the Leonard Bernstein Award from the Pacific Music Festival, where he was co-artistic director (1992–1998).
Mr. Eschenbach frequently mentors gifted young performers and works regularly with the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra. In Washington, he offers rehearsal opportunities to the students of the National Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Fellowship Program.
Valery Gergiev, Conductor
Valery Gergiev leads the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America for the second time, having conducted the inaugural tour in 2013. Mr. Gergiev is known for his cycles of works by Berlioz, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, and many others, which he has performed with the Mariinsky Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
Now in his first full season as music director of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Mr. Gergiev has already presented a cycle of the five Prokofiev piano concertos in one day, led such masterworks as Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, and recently returned from a tour of Asia with the orchestra. In previous years as music director designate, he implemented the performance of all 15 Shostakovich symphonies, as well as cycles of works by Stravinsky.
Having completed a nine-year tenure as principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, which included many recordings and international tours, Mr. Gergiev now concentrates on leading the legendary Mariinsky Theatre, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Stars of White Nights, Moscow Easter, and Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev festivals. In 1998, he followed Sir Georg Solti as principal conductor of the World Orchestra of Peace, a position in which he continues today.
Valery Gergiev was born in Moscow and studied conducting with Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory. As a student, he won the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in Berlin. In 1978, at the age of 24, he became assistant conductor to Yuri Temirkanov at the Mariinsky Theatre, where he made his debut with Prokofiev’s War and Peace. In 2003, he became the first Russian conductor since Tchaikovsky to conduct Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala. His recordings on LSO Live and the Mariinsky label have been acclaimed worldwide. Today he is a popular guest on all the great stages of Europe, Asia, and the Americas, including at the Salzburg Festival and the Metropolitan Opera.
Emanuel Ax, Soloist
Born in Poland, Emanuel Ax captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975, he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.
Three prominent duo collaborations will be carried through Mr. Ax’s current season. Beginning with the release of sonatas by Fauré and R. Strauss on the Deutsche Grammophon label, Mr. Ax will partner with longtime friend and colleague Itzhak Perlman for concerts in Kansas City, Dallas, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and La Jolla, as well as at Ravinia. A return visit to Japan will be followed by concerts in Paris, Berlin, Rome, Tel Aviv, and Amsterdam. As an annual guest with the New York Philharmonic, he will perform Brahms with Alan Gilbert in addition to return visits to orchestras in Houston, Chicago, and Pittsburgh, as well as duo recitals in Philadelphia and New York with violinist Pamela Frank. Longstanding partner Yo-Yo Ma will join him in Norfolk, Washington, and New York, where they will program all the complete Beethoven sonatas for cello and piano. Solo recitals in Tokyo, Arizona, Florida, Texas, and Boston culminate at Carnegie Hall in May as part of the Hall’s 125th anniversary.
The latter half of Mr. Ax’s 2014–2015 season featured two projects, the first being his curated two-week Celebrate the Piano festival with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, in which multiple pianists gave a variety of performances to explore the many facets of the instrument. The second was a European tour with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin that began at Carnegie Hall. He also returned to the orchestras of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, St. Louis, Montreal, and Ottawa. In Europe, he performed with the Berliner Philharmoniker, followed by a tour to Vienna, Salzburg, Graz, and London in performances of Schubert’s Winterreise with Simon Keenlyside, as well as appearances in Amsterdam and Paris with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Bernard Haitink. Other European orchestras with which he performed include the London Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, and the national orchestras of Toulouse and Lyon.
A Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, recent releases include Mendelssohn trios with Yo-Yo- Ma and Itzhak Perlman, Strauss’s Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. Mr. Ax has received Grammy Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano with Yo-Yo Ma. His other recordings include the concertos of Liszt and Schoenberg, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and the premiere recording of John Adams’s Century Rolls with The Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch. In the 2004–2005 season, Mr. Ax contributed to an International Emmy Award–winning BBC documentary to commemorate the Holocaust, which aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, his recording Variations received an ECHO Klassik award.
In recent years, Mr. Ax has turned his attention toward the music of 20th-century composers, premiering works by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner. Mr. Ax is also devoted to chamber music, and has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.
Mr. Ax resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki. They have two children together, Joseph and Sarah. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and holds honorary doctorates of music from Yale and Columbia universities. For more information, visit emanuelax.com.
Denis Matsuev, Soloist
Since his triumph in 1998 at the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition, Denis Matsuev has become a virtuoso in the grandest Russian tradition of pianism and has quickly established himself as one of the most prominent pianists of his generation.
Mr. Matsuev appears with the world’s best-known orchestras, such as the Chicago, Pittsburgh, and London symphony orchestras; the New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles philharmonic orchestras; the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Berliner Philharmoniker; the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; the BBC Symphony Orchestra; and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Mr. Matsuev also collaborates with the world’s most prominent conductors, including Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Mariss Jansons, Yuri Temirkanov, Paavo Järvi, Leonard Slatkin, Myung-whun Chung, Antonio Pappano, Semyon Bychkov, Iván Fischer, Ádám Fischer, Gianandrea Noseda, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, James Conlon, Vladimir Spivakov, Mikhail Pletnev, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Yuri Bashmet, and Yuri Simonov, among others.
Mr. Matsuev is a frequent guest at such music festivals as the Verbier, Lucerne, and Montreux festivals in Switzerland; BBC Proms and Edinburgh International festivals in Great Britain; Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau, and 29 Baden-Baden festivals in Germany; Chorégies d’Orange and Festival de la Rogue d’Anthéron in France; Ravinia and the Hollywood Bowl in the US; Chopin Festival in Poland; Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and MITO Festival in Italy; Enescu Festival in Romania; Baltic Sea Festival in Sweden; and Stars of the White Nights in Russia. Mr. Matsuev has also been a soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra since 1995.
Mr. Matsuev has led numerous musical festivals and educational projects. Since 2004, he has organized Stars on Baikal in Irkutsk, Siberia, and in 2009 he was awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of Irkutsk. Since 2005, he has been the artistic director of Crescendo, a series of events held in international cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Tel Aviv, Kaliningrad, Paris, and New York. In 2010, he became the artistic director of the Annecy Classical Festival in France; in 2012, he became the artistic director of the first International Astana Piano Passion Festival and Competition; and in 2013, he became the artistic director of the International Festival and Competition Sberbank Debut in Kiev. In addition, Mr. Matsuev is the president of the charitable Russian foundation New Names, which discovers and supports talented children and helps develop music education throughout regions of his native Russia.
At the invitation of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s grandson Alexander Rachmaninoff, Mr. Matsuev has collaborated with the Sergei Rachmaninoff Foundation, performing and recording unknown pieces by Rachmaninoff on the composer’s own piano at his house in Lucerne, known as Villa Senar. Mr. Matsuev has since become the artistic director of the foundation.
Mr. Matsuev is the recipient of awards that include the Presidential Council for Culture and Art’s Honored Artist of Russia, the prestigious Shostakovich Prize in Music, and the State Prize of the Russian Federation in Literature and Arts. He is a People’s Artist of Russia and an honorary professor at Moscow State University, and was recently appointed head of the Public Council under the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. In February 2014, he performed at the closing ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympics in Sochi. In April 2014, Mr. Matsuev was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
James Ross, Orchestra Director
Enrico Lopez-Yañez, Assistant Conductor
Erin Keefe, Concertmaster, Minnesota Orchestra
Jeff Thayer, Concertmaster, San Diego Symphony Orchestra
Baird Dodge, Principal Second Violin, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Cathy Basrak, Assistant Principal Viola, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Lisa Steltenpohl, Principal Viola, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Daniel Lee, Principal Cello, St. Louis Symphony
John Sharp, Principal Cello, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Alex Hanna, Principal Bass, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Jeffrey Turner, Principal Bass, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Aaron Goldman, Principal Flute, National Symphony Orchestra
Mark Sparks, Principal Flute, St. Louis Symphony
Jonathan Fischer, Principal Oboe, Houston Symphony Orchestra
Joseph Peters, Principal Oboe, Minnesota Orchestra
Jonathan Gunn, Principal Clarinet, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Rob Patterson, Principal Clarinet, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Nancy Goeres, Principal Bassoon, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
William Short, Principal Bassoon, The MET Orchestra
Abel Pereira, Principal Horn, National Symphony Orchestra
Robert Ward, Principal Horn, San Francisco Symphony
Karin Bliznik, Principal Trumpet, St. Louis Symphony
Billy Hunter, Principal Trumpet, The MET Orchestra
Kyle R. Covington, Principal Trombone, San Diego Symphony
R. Douglas Wright, Principal Trombone, Minnesota Orchestra
Dennis Nulty, Principal Tuba, Detroit Symphony Orchestra
David Herbert, Principal Timpani, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Gillian Benet Sella, Principal Harp, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Sō Percussion, Percussion Ensemble Coaches
July 13: Concert Hall, Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, SUNY (Purchase, NY)
July 14: Carnegie Hall (New York, NY)
July 21: Royal Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
July 22: Opéra Berlioz (Montpellier, France)
July 24: Tivoli Hall (Copenhagen, Denmark)
July 25: Smetana Hall (Prague, Czech Republic)