/ BYSO Announces 59th Season

Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO) announces its 59th season celebrating 10 years of opera and 20 years of service and accomplishments from Executive Director, Catherine Weiskel, Highlights include Bartok, Mozart and BYSO on Parade and much more... [envira-gallery slug="59th-season-release-gallery"] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Erin Keegan Ianni, Director of Marketing and PR 617-353-3359,                                                                  BOSTON YOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS ANNOUNCES 59th SEASON CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF OPERA AND 20 YEARS OF SERVICE FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CATHERINE WEISKEL  PROGRAMATIC HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE TCHAIKOVSKY’S EUGENE ONEGIN, BARTOK, MOZART AND BYSO ON PARADE, A CELEBRATION OF ALL 490 YOUNG MUSICIANS PERFORMING AT SYMPHONY HALL. BOSTON – September 16, 2016 – Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO), one of the finest youth orchestras in the country, announces programming for the 59th season. In addition to the advanced orchestral repertoire scheduled, BYSO will CELEBRATE 10 YEARS OF OPERA and present its 10th consecutive semi-staged opera, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, in January 2017.  BYSO continues to be one of the only youth orchestras in the world to present full-length operas. Under the leadership of BYSO Music Director, Federico Cortese, the rehearsal and performance of “Opera at BYSO” has become an integral part of our program and a critically-acclaimed cornerstone of BYSO’s concert season. The six BYSO ensembles featuring 490 talented students from throughout New England will present more than 20 performances in such prestigious venues as Symphony Hall, Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, Kresge Auditorium at MIT, Tsai Performance Center at Boston University, the Boston Children’s Museum, Faneuil Hall and more.  The premier orchestra, Boston Youth Symphony (BYS) and Repertory Orchestra, will open the season on October 16, 2016, at Symphony Hall, with a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra led by BYSO Music Director Federico Cortese.  On January 29, 2017, BYS will present Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Ongein at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. The BYSO is acclaimed as the only US youth orchestra to perform complete semi-staged operas and this performance of Eugene Onegin marks the 10th consecutive season of opera.  On March 12, 2017 BYSO will present BYSO on Parade at Symphony Hall, a family afternoon musical experience that showcases all 490 BYSO musicians, ages 5-18.  The season will conclude on June 11, 2017 at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. Along with the full schedule of traditional subscription season concerts, BYSO collaborates once again with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) for the BSO Family Concerts. This collaboration between BSO and BYSO was introduced in 2009 and includes Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf performed by BYS on October 29, 2016 and conducted by Adrian Slywotzky and Presto Change-O performed by BYSO’s youngest orchestra, Young People’s String Orchestra and members of the Intensive Community Program with conductor Marta Zurad and magician, Matt Roberts on April 29, 2017. As part of this partnership, BSO Family Concerts are sponsored by Arbella Insurance. BYSO also celebrates the 20 year commitment and accomplishments of Executive Director, Catherine Weiskel.   Weiskel’s background in Music Education, Musicology and her wealth of experience with professional orchestras prepared her well for her tireless and vast tenure with BYSO. The outstanding developments and enhancements under Weiskel’s administration these past 20 years include and are not limited to:
  • Balancing an annual budget that has increased from $250,000 to more than $3 million and significantly increased endowment
  • Increasing accepted BYSO member students from 250 to nearly 500 students Increasing the number of students who audition for the program from 420 to nearly 900 students
  • Establishing BYSO’s reputable opera program, now in its tenth year
  • Creating the Intensive Community Program, BYSO’s successful outreach program
  • Establishing a formal partnership with Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in 2012 with the Family Concert Series and the bi-annual operas for children and families
  • Forging meaningful partnerships with many organizations including, Roxbury Community College, Boston Children’s Museum, Boston Public Schools, The Museum of African American History, The City of Boston and many more.
  • Leading BYSO on multiple international tours including trips to Italy, Austria, Hungary, Great Britain, Ireland, Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Russia and Poland.
  • Adding multiple ensembles including 6 chamber orchestras, Preparatory Winds, Petit Ensemble among others.
  • Leading the organization through a successful branding and name change from GBYSO to BYSO in 2007
  • Expanding an administrative staff of 3 to a thriving, sophisticated administrative staff of 13
Given these impressive accomplishments BYSO is now an organization that is bursting from its seams. This exceptional success has made for an inevitable lack of sufficient space needed to support such growth, thus compelling BYSO to explore the creation of a new home to serve even more students and the Boston community. The goal is to create The BYSO Youth Center for Music - a space and a “home” where BYSO can impact even more lives through community outreach and participation. HIGHLIGHTS OF BYSO’s 59th SEASON INCLUDE: 59th SEASON OPENING CONCERT Sunday, October 16, 2016, 3 pm at Symphony Hall Boston Youth Symphony, BYSO's premier orchestra Federico Cortese, Conductor and Music Director BEETHOVEN                Symphony No. 8 MOZART                       Symphony No. 41, Jupiter BARTOK                       Concerto for Orchestra With Repertory Orchestra, Mark Miller, Conductor Sunday, January 29, 2017, 3 pm at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University TCHAIKOVSKY            Eugene Onegin Federico Cortese, Conductor Edward Berkeley, Stage Director Semi-staged opera performance Sunday, March 12, 2017, 3pm at Symphony Hall BYSO on Parade Featuring all BYSO Ensembles 59th Season Final Concert Sunday, June 11, 2017, 3 pm at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University Boston Youth Symphony, BYSO's premier orchestra Federico Cortese, Conductor and Music Director View the full season schedule and for more information visit Ticket prices range from FREE - $50; season subscribers receive up to a 15% discount Tickets are available at or by calling BYSO at (617) 358-6015 Symphony Hall at 617-266-1200 Sanders Theatre at 617-496-2222 Boston Symphony Orchestra’s FAMILY CONCERTS  Saturday, October 29, 2016 at noon Symphony Hall PROKOFIEV’S PETER AND THE WOLF  Boston Youth Symphony Adrian Slywotzky, Conductor  Saturday, April 18, 2017, 10:00am and noon Symphony Hall COMMON COURTESY: MINDING OUR MUSICAL MANNERS  Boston Symphony Orchestra Thomas Wilkins, Germeshausen Youth and Family Concerts Conductor Saturday, April 29, 2017 at noon Symphony Hall PRESTO CHANGE-O Young People's String Orchestra & members of the Intensive Community Program Marta Zurad, Conductor Matt Robers, Magician For tickets and information for BSO’s Family Concert Series visit  or call (617)266-1200 About Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO)            The mission of BYSO is to encourage musical excellence in a professional and supportive environment by providing the highest quality orchestra training and performance opportunities to qualified musicians, grades K-12, while making its programs accessible to underrepresented communities through financial assistance and outreach. Widely regarded as one of the country’s finest youth orchestras, BYSO places musical excellence at the heart of all its activities. Each year BYSO auditions over 850 students and accepts approximately 500 musicians representing over 140 communities from the New England area. Students are accepted into one of three full symphonic orchestras, two young string training orchestras, six chamber orchestras, a preparatory wind ensemble and a chamber music program. The Intensive Community Program (ICP), a nationally recognized string training outreach program, provides rigorous musical instruction to students from underrepresented communities. BYSO offers more than 20 performances annually at some of Boston’s finest venues including Symphony Hall and Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. Excellence in music making at BYSO is, uniquely, both a goal and a means. Every year, hundreds of young musicians participate in ensemble and training programs coached by Boston’s finest musicians and educators. They perform repertoire that is above the level of any other youth orchestra in our country, both in difficulty, maturity and scope. Simultaneously, something even more remarkable is happening.  Through BYSO, classical music ignites a passionate pursuit of excellence, perseverance, self-confidence and pride within our young musicians.  The students have a deep and life-changing experience during their time at BYSO, and it helps them develop into outstanding adults whatever their life path.  Kids are transformed by an experience this special and this unique, and it is clear that they take this transformation into all areas of their life—into their communities and subsequently passed on to future generations. In the 59 years since its founding, BYSO has continuously elevated, enhanced and been driven to perfect, change and adapt to meet the dynamic needs of our students and communities.  Today BYSO provides a rich and broad range of programs from chamber music to opera.  The unique and extensive programming is rooted in quality, and delivered in a nurturing environment. Nowhere else in the world can a child experience classical music in the unique way they can at BYSO. Programs and opportunities like the opera program exemplify the rare opportunity for a young musician to truly understand an area of repertoire that will enhance their artistic understanding on a larger scale. Participating in the Intensive Community Program, a kindergartner achieves artistic and personal success while progressively mastering a string instrument as part of a community based peer learning model. Through the family concerts in partnership with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a shared understanding is achieved when our children perform classical music for other children. With more than a half century of history in the city of Boston, and thousands of children now grown into successful adults, the impact of BYSO can be seen in so many ways. Federico Cortese, Music Director  Federico Cortese assumed the post of Music Director of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras in 1999. He has conducted throughout the United States, Australia, China, and Europe. He is also the Music Director of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra at Harvard University. From 1998–2002, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa. In addition to his annual scheduled concerts, Mr. Cortese led the Boston Symphony several times in Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood, most notably performing Beethoven’s "Symphony No. 9" and Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”. Mr. Cortese has conducted several prominent symphony orchestras, including Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, BBC Scottish Symphony, Sydney Symphony, and Oslo Philharmonic. Opera engagements have included Maggio Musicale in Florence, the Spoleto Festival in Italy and the United States, the Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the Finnish National Opera, Opera Australia, and the Washington National Opera. Mr. Cortese has been Music Coordinator and Associate Conductor of the Spoleto Festival in Italy. He also served as Assistant Conductor to Robert Spano and to Daniele Gatti. Mr. Cortese, who was born in Rome, studied composition and conducting at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome and subsequently studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna. He also studied literature and humanities and holds a law degree from La Sapienza University in Rome.