The Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO) musicians will perform in the virtual Tutti! Festival over two weekends in December. It will feature twelve ensembles in eight live recorded concerts. All concerts will be streamed online to virtual audiences through ESYO’s Virtual Concert Hall.
The festival begins on December 3 with Beethoven’s First Symphony performed by the ESYO Symphony Classical Orchestra. The advanced Symphony Orchestra will perform works by Mozart including the Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute. ESYO Symphony Orchestra will also rediscover Dance in the Old Style by Hollywood composer Erich Korngold, The Serenade for Strings by Irish-American composer, Victor Herbert and Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’ homage to Mozart Sinfonietta No. 1. On Saturday, December 12, members of the ESYO Jazz Orchestra will take the stage with Milestones by jazz legend Miles Davis and a jazzy take on the holiday favorite “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
A full list of concerts and repertoire is available online on their website.
The organization is excited to be able to provide incredible musical opportunities to ESYO students who are from throughout the Capital Region and beyond. This past fall, leaders at the organization developed creative and innovative ways the student musicians could come together, in person, to practice music, all while adhering to strict COVID-19 safe regulations. They have been practicing in small groups throughout the season.
“The pandemic forced us to use many tools that we didn’t realize we had and forced us to think out of the box in the way we design our programs, orchestras, rehearsals and concerts. For example, the chance to break up our big orchestra into chamber orchestras allows for a lot of repertoire opportunities that we would not have before. The fact that we are challenged by the schedule having to rehearse half of the orchestra in one room and the other half in another room forced us to engage with assistant conductors and instrument coaches that tremendously increased the personalized educational attention that our musicians would not receive otherwise,” said ESYO Music Director, Carlos Ágreda.
Georgia Burtt, a violinist in Symphony Orchestra who is homeschooled in Berne, also believes ESYO has shined during this time. “I think that the music instruction is great. When we were first quarantined back in March, ESYO continued online. We had some speakers talk to us about college, performance, and what life is like working as a professional musician. I thought that those were incredible. Now, with the in-person rehearsals, we can directly work with our conductors and sectional coaches. We are also live-streaming the rehearsals so those who are quarantined are able to still learn and participate in the rehearsals. Overall, I think ESYO has done an incredible job modifying in accordance with these new restrictions while still giving us students opportunities to learn and improve.”
ESYO has also kept its free, afterschool program called CHIME going strong, in the virtual world. CHIME musicians are engaging in a private lesson, a group practice and a music appreciation class each week. The cuts in NY State arts education funding have presented a significant challenge, but ESYO remains committed to providing enriched musical experiences for its youth. They are so grateful to all who have made generous contributions this fall, and are hoping that the community will continue to step up to help ensure that the CHIME students are able to keep making music through the winter.
Virtual Concert Schedule:
December 3 at 7:00pm: Symphony Classical
December 4 at 7:00pm: Repertory Romantic and String Orchestra
December 5 at 7:00pm: Repertory Strings and Youth Percussion
December 6 at 3:00pm: ESYO Wind Orchestra & Concertino Strings
December 10 at 7:00pm: ESYO Repertory Classical and String Orchestra
December 11 at 7:00pm: Symphony Strings
December 12 at 7:00pm: ESYO Youth Jazz
December 13 at 3:00pm: Symphony Romantic
Tickets to the event can be found here.