, / Creating a Home: A “Before and After” Look into the Creation of the BYSO Youth Center for Music

Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras’ new home cultivates a space wholly centered around energizing our community of young musicians, conductors, teaching artists, and more. The BYSO Youth Center for Music, now officially open and in use, is an astounding example of a space thoughtfully created with considerations of space, location, utility, inclusivity, accessibility, and more.

The BYSO Youth Center for Music, just across the street from Symphony Hall, is iconic for its location and recognizable architecture. The building was created as the Sunday School for The First Church of Christ, Scientist (TFCCS) in 1971 and was designed by the award-willing I.M. Pei Architect, who is most known for designing the famous glass and metal pyramid of The Louvre. 

Alongside the beautiful architecture of the building, is a large lightbox newly displaying a few faces from the BYSO family.

As you enter the lobby through the main entrance, you will see a wide and beautiful space where our students meet for programming, a front desk with BYSO staff and security personnel, and many places where our BYSO community are welcome to gather, relax, and socialize.

On the first floor, the Egozy Rehearsal Room now serves as one of the many versatile spaces for our students, staff, and faculty to use. This multi-purpose room hosts divided rehearsals, sectionals, chamber music, meetings, intimate performances, and more. This space is crucial to allow our orchestras to rehearse simultaneously on Sundays.

Located at the end of the Lobby is the Cove, a space where we recognize those who financially contributed to the creation of the BYSO Youth Center for Music and the everlasting impact of their support on our young musicians.

In creating the entire space, we had a consistent focus on the hopes and needs of our students. The Egan Student Lounge, named after BYSO percussion alumni, E. Michael Egan ‘72, serves as a space where students can gather, relax, and chat between rehearsals.

One of the most recognizable features of the BYSO Youth Center for Music is the ramp which connects all three floors of this historic building. With gorgeous skylight, the ramp provides students an easy way to travel between rehearsal and practice spaces. BYSO additionally installed an elevator to make the building ADA certified and accessible for all.

On the second floor we installed 10 new practice rooms for our Intensive Community Program’s (ICP) weekly instruction and a hallway separating the practice rooms from the auditorium. Each room was acoustically engineered to prevent sound bleed into other ongoing rehearsals. With four levels of flooring and doors to each room that each weigh 500 pounds, every practice room is Sound Transmission Class rated - a ranking of how well different features reduce sound transmission.

In addition to being very functional, each practice room boasts a breathtaking view of the reflecting pool on the Christian Science Plaza. One student described the view by saying “when I look out the window, it looks like I’m seeing into the future!”

Alongside our designated practice rooms, we created multiple new rooms to serve as a range of rehearsal spaces for our students. These rooms, located on the third floor of the building, allow multiple groups to play in their own spaces: whether chamber groups, individual lessons, or anything else needed. Before we owned the building, these rooms did not exist!


Finally, the newly dedicated Federico Cortese and Catherine Weiskel Auditorium is a large rehearsal space for our students to play in full orchestra. The hardwood flooring, chevron architecture on the walls, and acoustical clouds create a rehearsal space with outstanding sound ideal for large ensembles. This auditorium provides our students the space to grow exponentially as musicians.

The BYSO Youth Center for Music is an exciting and important new chapter and we could not be more grateful for all who helped make this project become a reality. Our home, is an unforgettable space dedicated completely to the voices and music of our young musicians. This space will continue to exemplify and encourage our work to provide students with unparalleled musical opportunities and foster a community supporting the journey and growth of children for generations to come. 


All photos by Michael J. Lutch.