Sydney Youth Orchestras (SYO), in partnership with Riverside Theatres, has formed the inaugural Western Sydney Youth Orchestra (WSYO), an exciting new venture which pulls together the best young orchestral musicians from across Western Sydney.
The orchestra will rehearse in Parramatta each week and then perform in a series of concerts through 2017 and beyond in Sydney’s Central city, Parramatta. The orchestra was established in consultation with the community and responds to the needs of young aspirational musicians, building on the excellent work done by music teachers and schools in Western Sydney.
Led by highly regarded educator and conductor James Pensini, this classical orchestra will focus on the great works of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven as a core part of the SYO orchestral Training Framework. James rose through the ranks of the SYO family himself on trumpet and is now Head of Brass, Woodwind and Percussion and Head of Bands at St Aloysius’ College, Milsons Point. He also conducts the SYO’s Symphonic Wind Orchestra.
CEO Yarmila Alfonzetti observes that in the past, young musicians from western Sydney might have been dissuaded from auditioning for SYO because of the distance to Sydney city. With almost a quarter of the State’s young people living in Western Sydney, SYO have created an opportunity where the musicians are, adding “We are excited about recognising talent everywhere. SYO’s Strategic Plan includes firm milestones to address the most significant barriers to participation in classical music, and we know one of these is geographical location.”
Youth orchestras create a unique, inspiring environment for young musicians where they can feel free to express what it is they are passionate about, even if that is classical music. “We have 15-year-old boys hanging around after rehearsals discussing their favourite Mahler symphony or Strauss Tone Poem,” Alfonzetti explained. “The WSYO will have the same opportunities and educational experiences as the other senior orchestras in SYO. We believe that what we offer can inspire and change lives, and everyone deserves that. This is SYO core business.”
SYO began in 1973 with a single orchestra. In 2017 the organisation will provide weekly orchestral training for musicians aged from 6-25 in 12 ensembles.