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Philadelphia Orchestra Members Help Train a New Youth Orchestra

Philadelphia can expect symphonic fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend when the Kimmel Center hosts the first performance by the National Youth Orchestra 2 on Saturday. NYO2 was formed by Carnegie Hall’s educational arm and is coached by members of The Philadelphia Orchestra. But catching any of the musicians between classes and rehearsals wasn’t easy for the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns.

David Patrick Stearns: The leafy environs of State University of New York at Purchase are abruptly invaded by the sounds of 78 teenagers from 27 states in National Youth Orchestra 2... and they’re living the lives of professionals, says Philadelphia Orchestra principal trumpet David Bilger.

David Bilger: They’ve got to learn much more quickly than they do in their regular youth orchestra where they may have four months of rehearsals for a program. Here they’ve got two weeks.

DPS: With high-energy bassist Joe Conyers, these kids might not know what hit them.

Joseph Conyers: Sometimes the students are a little bit shell-shocked, but they take notes, they take videos...

DPS: Time management, however, may not be the top syllabus item for clarinetist Ricardo Morales.

Ricardo Morales: We were just clarinetting too much and we got into the orchestra rehearsal a little late, and got a little scolding. It was all my fault! [big laugh]

DPS: The kids have tourist time in New York and Philadelphia, though Carnegie Hall’s Sarah Johnson says the relative isolation of campus is intentional.

Sarah Johnson: They’re hanging out at night playing chamber music, they’re reading things together, they’re listening to stuff together....

DPS: For 14-year-old Philadelphia-area bassist Braden Ellis, the week is about considering the future and finding the right voice.

Braden Ellis: At first I played the violin and I didn’t like the squeaky sounds I was grinding out on it...

DPS: Grinding was definitely not heard the day I was there.

NYO2 performs in two free side-by-side concerts with Philadelphia Orchestra members! Saturday, July 2nd at 6 pm, at Verizon Hall, and Sunday, July 3rd at 10 am at the 23rd Street Armory with NYO-USA and others.