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VIDEO: Very Young Composers of Shanghai Learn from Philharmonic Musicians

On July 5, New York Philharmonic musicians participated in a session for Very Young Composers of Shanghai, ages 10–15, as part of the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Residency Partnership. Philharmonic Artistic Director, Very Young Composers, Jon Deak (red shirt) guided a group rhythm exercise, Philharmonic violinist Kuan Cheng Lu demonstrated melodic range, and Assistant Principal Timpani / Percussionist Kyle Zerna showed what was special about Chinese cymbals. 

(Video: Chris Lee)

Musical Postcards

Throughout this 175th anniversary season, the New York Philharmonic has been celebrating its hometown, as well as exploring the meaning of home, through The New World Initiative.

This past Saturday, a very special Saturday Matinee concert gave audiences a particularly resonant look at the idea of “home” when Philharmonic musicians and Teaching Artists performed works written by students of the Very Young Composer’s Program (VYC), aged 9–22, some of which were inspired by original compositions by Middle Eastern children in refugee camps.

The concert was a result of the Musical Postcards program, through which VYC participants correspond with children in other countries and ultimately compose music in reaction to pieces written by their counterparts abroad. Works on Saturday’s program included “Musical Postcards” from New York composers to those in Venezuela, Israel, and Syria as well as a work by an Afghan refugee.

Jennifer Sime, Senior Vice President, United States Programs, of the International Rescue Committee, opened the concert with remarks about the current refugee crisis.

As Jon Deak, Artistic Director of VYC, said: “The spirit of these displaced children inspires us. Our New York kids have expressed solidarity by answering their counterparts with their own music.”

The works performed were:

Claudia Meléndez (Venezuela) El Secreto

Cassandra Stevens (New York) Where Is Home?

Naama Rolnick (Israel) Keep Walking

Chi-Chi Ezekwenna (New York) Sequence of War

Ram Shanati (Syria) Watar (String)

Nina Moske (New York) 11,000,000

Milad Yousufi (Afghanistan) Freedom

Above, New York Philharmonic musicians and Teaching Artists who performed pose with (left to right): Milad Yousufi, Naama Rolnick, Nina Moske, Cassandra Stevens, and Chi-Chi Ezekwenna.   

The performers, all of whom donated their services, encouraged the audience to reach out to children in need, naming three possible organizations to support: Doctors Without Borders, New York Philharmonic Education Fund, and International Rescue Committee.

“The healing and creative power of children is a wonder to behold. We feel that now, more than ever, it is important to listen to them,” Deak said. 

(Photo: Chris Lee)

Musical Postcards Through One Very Young Composer's Eyes

Barbican Centre Very Young Composers New York Philharmonic

The Barbican Centre published a blog post that offers an interesting case history from the collaboration between the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers program and Barbican and Guildhall School's Future Band, which culminated in a performance during our recent residency at the Barbican during the EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour:

As part of April’s New York Philharmonic Residency, we have been exploring ideas of musical creation without borders working with young people from East London and New York. Through musical postcards, emails, pictures, sound files and musical notes, our young composers have been sharing who they are, their cities and their musical ideas to help inspire a musical creation across the Atlantic.

The result? Pieces of music that would be performed by an ensemble of New York Philharmonic musicians and Guildhall School of Music and Drama graduates on our freeStage during the New York Philharmonic Residency.

The Barbican spoke to Graydon Hanson, one of the Philhamonic Very Young Composers, who gave a composer's eye view on the process. Check it out!

(Photo: Chris Lee)

WATCH: London Highlights: Young Composers & 'Petrushka'

On April 17–19, 2015, the New York Philharmonic was in residence at London's Barbican Centre, part of the Orchestra's EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour, made possible by Exclusive Tour Sponsor Credit Suisse. The activities, reflecting many of the Philharmonic's signature performance and education initiatives, included master classes, works created by Very Young Composers, the Musicjelly interactive experience, puppet building with kids — all culminating in a staged performance of Petrushka, a production by Giants Are Small, in which Music Director Alan Gilbert and the musicians got in on the action. (Video: Chris Lee)

PHOTOS: London

Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic presented their signature projects in London during the Orchestra's second residency at the Barbican Centre under the auspices of its International Associates initiative. Just a few highlights: a genre-bending staging of Stravinksy's Petrushka at a Young People's Concert, an interactive installation allowing kids to digitally "conduct" the Philharmonic, a new-music concert, and a critically acclaimed performance with Joyce DiDonato. 

PHOTOS/VIDEOS: Scenes from Special Free Concert of Very Young Composers from Japan and New York

Very Young Composers Free Concert NY Philharmonic

As you know if you were able to join us, yesterday's special free concert of music by Very Young Composers from Japan and New York was a very big hit!

The concert, held at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, culminated a weeklong residency by nine 10–14-year-olds visiting us from Fukushima, Japan — site of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011. The residency and concert were part of the TOMODACHI Very Young Composers Fukushima–New York Program.

Philharmonic musicians and Teaching Artists performed the works, which were composed on the universal theme of Rebirth, referencing the melody known in Japan as "chuocho" (butterfly) and in the United States as "Lightly Row."

The Very Young Composers got to meet Philharmonic Radio Host and Board Member Alec Baldwin and President Matthew VanBesien, seen in this photo:

Alec Baldwin and Matthew VanBesien NY Philharmonic

The concert was covered by Agence France-Presse (picked up by Yahoo! News), The Independent (UK), Kyodo News, and FujiTV.

Here's an interview with two Very Young Composers by Fred Katayama, a Reuters anchor and a board member of the U.S.-Japan Council, followed by an interview Katayama did with two parents:

Top: Very Young Composers from Japan and New York with New York Philharmonic musicians and Teaching Artists, plus Vice President, Education, Theodore Wiprud (far right) and Very Young Composers founder Jon Deak (to Wiprud's right) (Photos: Michael DiVito)

Special Free Concert: Very Young Composers from Fukushima, Japan

Very Young Composers of Japan NY Philharmonic

We warmly invite you to a remarkable free concert next week featuring young composers wrestling not only with melody, form, and instrumentation but also how music can express grief and recovery.

On Tuesday, March 24, at 5:00 p.m., nine 10–14-year-olds visiting us from Fukushima, Japan — site of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 — will conclude their week of exchange with young New York composers with a concert of their new works, played by Philharmonic musicians and Teaching Artists. Both Japanese and American students composed their works on the universal theme of Rebirth, referencing the melody known in Japan as "chuocho" (butterfly) and in the United States as "Lightly Row."

The concert is at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Above: Very Young Composers from Japan with pianist Makoto Ozone, Very Young Composers founder Jon Deak, and former Assistant Conductor Joshua Weilerstein (Photo: Chris Lee)

To Europe We'll Go!

In April Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic bring signature programs and projects to the birthplace of symphonic music. Here are some highlights of EUROPE / SPRING 2015: 

  • The first return to Dublin in 19 years; 
  • The Orchestra's second residency as an International Associate of London's Barbican Centre, featuring the Giants Are Small staging of Stravinsky's Petrushka (in which the musicians get into the action);
  • The Orchestra's first time playing in the newly opened Philharmonie in Paris.
  • A performance of highlights from CONTACT!, the new-music series;
  • Cornerstone education projects, including a performance of music by Very Young Composers of New York and London;
  • Performances of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Nyx in London, Dublin, Amsterdam, Paris, and Cologne; 
  • The World Premiere of Senza sangue, Peter Eötvös’s new opera, co-commissioned by the Philharmonic. 

Check back after April 17 to join the tour virtually through photos and videos on nyphil.org/europespring2015!

Credit Suisse is the Exclusive Tour Sponsor of the New York Philharmonic. 

The EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour is made possible, in part, by contributions from major underwriters Didi and Oscar Schafer, Daria L. and Eric J. Wallach, and the Mary and James G. Wallach Family Foundation, and underwriters Harold Mitchell, AC, Joan and Joel I. Picket, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, and the New York Philharmonic's International Advisory Board.

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