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National Youth Orchestra Trains, Performs At Purchase

The bass section of the First National Youth Orchestra practices at Purchase College in Harrison, led by Jeffrey Turner of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
The bass section of the First National Youth Orchestra practices at Purchase College in Harrison, led by Jeffrey Turner of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Photo Credit: Chris Lee

HARRISON, N.Y. -- The First National Youth Orchestra will kick off its summer tour with a performance on Thursday at Purchase College in Harrison, where the musicians have been taking part in a two-week training residency.

The orchestra was created by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, and gathers 120 orchestral players between 16 and 19 years old. Since June 30 the students have been rehearsing at Purchase's Performing Arts Center, while receiving mentoring from section leaders in some of the country's top orchestras.

The residency is the beginning of a new partnership between Purchase and Carnegie Hall in an effort to collaborate, share resources and further both institutions' educational goals.

"This partnership between Purchase College and Carnegie Hall began about two years ago when we received a call from Carnegie Hall seeing if we had an interest in this project," said Harry McFadden, director of the Performing Arts Center. "Our president, Thomas J. Schwarz moved this forward and a great partnership was born."

Other sites were considered, "but Carnegie Hall really liked our facilities and found the college extremely conducive to this program and its participants," McFadden said.

The First National Youth Orchestra will perform Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center. They will be led by conductor Valery Gergiev and will feature violinist Joshua Bell as a soloist. Tickets for the performance are available online .

Following the performance at Purchase College, the orchestra will set off on a tour that will include a performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on Saturday, performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and a concluding performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on July 21. That final performance can be heard on July 27 at 5 p.m. at wqxr.org .

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