Saturday capped an inspiring week in which our renowned Young People’s Concerts and Young People’s Concerts for Schools intersected powerfully with The New World Initiative, our season-long, citywide project revolving around Dvořák’s New World Symphony and its theme of home through performances, community outreach, and education projects on the occasion of the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season.
More than 12,000 students and teachers attended the school concerts, and more than 2,000 attended the public concert on Saturday — nearly 15,000 in all were at the seven concerts.
The program featured selections from the New World symphony alongside works by Very Young Composers of New York City, all first- or second-generation immigrants, inspired by the New World Symphony and its theme of home.
April Rabiu’s son Isai (see above photo) was one of the Very Young Composers. “[He] was getting all these congrats after the concert,” she said. “And then these girls came up and said they were Nigerians, too, from the Igbo Tribe. They said his music made them proud to be Nigerian and could they take a picture with him? Isai was so touched, I thought he was going to cry.”
“The future of symphonic music is in good hands,” said Vice President, Education, Theodore Wiprud of the combined efforts of the Very Young Composers.
Wednesday saw two performances geared to high school students, placing Dvořák’s sojourn in America within a social-historical context. For the elementary school concerts Thursday and Friday, students were invited to record and submit their own version of the Largo melody, known as “Goin’ Home” — their interpretation of the tune, their feelings about their home, be it in New York or someplace far away. Selected submissions were compiled and shown in a video at each concert.
Students were also invited to create portraits of Dvořák coming to the New World and leaving to go back home that were showcased before and during the concerts.
If you missed it, this spring we will release last week’s Young People’s Concerts for Schools on Young People’s Concerts Play!, a new online learning platform making YPCs available for on-demand streaming, enhanced by innovative interactive lessons for classrooms (grades 3–6).
(Photos: Michael DiVito)
Social media were abuzz with impressions of the week's concerts: