NYC Alumni Gathering

Over the summer, BYSO hosted an alumni gathering at the Galway Hooker Bar in the West Village, NYC. Alumni from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s,and the 2010’s all came out to reunite and reminisce on their fondest memories from their time in the orchestras. It was a lovely evening, and we look forward to doing it again this season!

Thursday, October 3, 2019
6:00 to 8:00pm

The next alumni gathering will be on Thursday, October 3 at Hops N Scotch in Coolidge Corner, Brookline. Come and have a drink with Fed and your fellow alumni!

Alumni ages 18+ are welcome. RSVP here!


We are excited to welcome the following new staff members to the BYSO family! David Abraham, Joseph Bozich, Miriam Eckelhoefer, Saralyn Klepaczyk, and Kara York.

David Abraham, Operations Manager: A native of Portland, OR, David Abraham is a percussionist earning his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, while previously earning degrees from Central Michigan University (MM) and Portland State University (BM). He is devoted to honoring traditional repertoire, while seeking new ways to explore percussion as a performer and teaching artist. David is a founding member of All of the Above contemporary chamber music ensemble which was ensemble-in-residence at the 2017 Cortona Sessions for New Music in Cortona, Italy and has also made several appearances at Carnegie Hall. David most recently served as the Director of Percussion at West Clermont Local Schools in Cincinnati, OH. Prior to that, David had interned with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, concert:nova, and Bang on a Can where he focused on production, stage management, and marketing. He is a huge sports fan so be sure to catch him in the hallways for a little sports talk!  

Saralyn Klepaczyk, Community Programs Manager: Saralyn is a bassoonist by training and has a variety of arts administration experience, particularly operations/production, library services and patron services, from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and Celebrity Series of Boston. Saralyn graduated from the University of Michigan with her B.M. in Bassoon Performance. She spent some time at BU and is currently pursuing a certificate in Arts Administration. In the Community Programs Manager role, Saralyn’s work will include the day-to-day management and production of ICP as well as our work with the BEAM consortium and other community initiatives. She is most excited about working with our ICP students and families and to expand her ensemble operations experience.    

Miriam Eckelhoefer: Director of Chamber Music: Miriam Eckelhoefer has a multifaceted career as a performer, teacher and administrator. An active freelance musician, Ms. Eckelhoefer has performed with orchestras and in festivals throughout the United States, Canada, England, France, Italy, and Holland. Ms. Eckelhoefer served as Director of Preparatory and Continuing Studies at the Longy School of Music, Assistant Director of Ensembles at the Neighborhood Music School and co-founded Elm City ChamberFest in New Haven, CT. An avid educator, she has taught cello and coached chamber music throughout her career. She holds degrees from SUNY at Stony Brook, Yale University, and University of Notre Dame, and her principal instructors include Colin Carr, Aldo Parisot, Karen Buranskas, Irene Sharp, and members of the Tokyo and Emerson String Quartets.  

Joe Bozich, Artistic Advisor and Conductor: Conductor and composer Joseph Bozich has been called “quite musical and effective” (Classical Voice North Carolina), and brings experience with both symphonic and operatic repertoire to his craft. The 2019 season sees him return as Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master for the Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s productions of Gianni Schicchi and Die Liebe der Danae. He serves an an assistant conductor with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra and is a teaching assistant for the HRO and opera conducting course at Harvard. He recently served as Assistant Conductor for the New Philharmonia (Newton, MA) and a conducting fellow at the Eastern and Miami Music Festivals. His award-winning compositions have been heard in New York’s Carnegie Hall, Boston, Seattle, and Ann Arbor. He holds a Masters of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Kenneth Kiesler and composition with Bright Sheng.

Kara York, Marketing Manager: Kara York started in her role as Marketing Manager with BYSO this summer. Kara’s background in music performance combined with her training and professional experience in performing arts marketing make her an ideal addition to the BYSO team. Kara, originally from North Carolina, is an oboe player who studied Music Performance at University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  She holds a Master of Arts in Arts Management from American University and she completed her thesis on experiential marketing in the performing arts. She has had experience in a number of performing arts organizations including Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, The Washington Ballet, and the North Carolina Symphony.

ICP Strings Recruitment Fall 2019- APPLY TODAY!

Do you know a student age 4-7 who is interested in experiencing classical music? BYSO’s Intensive Community Program (ICP) is recruiting a new class of ICP Strings students!

In 1998, BYSO created the Intensive Community Program (ICP), a rigorous instrumental training program, in response to financial and cultural accessibility barriers preventing students from Boston’s inner city from auditioning into BYSO’s orchestras and participating in our high-quality programming. ICP aims to serve students of color including African American, Latinx, Caribbean, and other populations historically underrepresented in the study of classical music. Students enter ICP with little or no music training, and after 2–3 years of training and support, they are prepared to successfully audition into one of BYSO’s prestigious orchestras, with the objective of reaching BYSO’s top level orchestra. Students are provided the resources they need to be successful in BYSO orchestras and beyond, including financial aid for orchestra tuition, weekly lessons, use of an instrument, positive mentorship and an array of support services until they graduate from high school. Through discipline and creativity, individuality and teamwork, students can accomplish personal and group goals. The results are young musicians who develop high aspirations and a desire to work towards musical excellence.

WHO: Students ages 4-7 (as of September 1, 2019) who are interested in experiencing classical music may apply. No prior musical experience is necessary! 

HOW: Interested families must submit an application form and application fee for each interested student. To apply, visit Then click “ICP Strings Fall 2019 recruitment” to access the online application. You will receive an e-mail notifying you that your application has been received. Space is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Application deadline is Monday, September 16!  

PROCESS: BYSO will interview up to 100 children and families. 32 children will be selected to join our fall 2019 Music Workshop Series. In January 2020, 16-20 of those children will advance into the program. Once admitted, ICP students are provided with: use of an instrument, weekly lessons, ensemble class, summer workshops, and access to need based financial aid.

Becoming an ICP Member Means…

  •   Performing at concerts throughout the year!
  •   Expanding your circle of friends from all walks of life and becoming part of an environment that truly feels like family.
  •   An opportunity to make a difference in the community-at-large. Students volunteer their time with outreach concerts at area hospitals and retirement homes.
  •   And so much more…

Space is limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. For additional information please visit the recruitment section of our website (CLICK HERE) or contact

Click here for an ICP Strings Flyer to distribute in your community!

For more information or to request additional materials, please contact us at or at 617.353.5330, or visit our website:

Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras

855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Intensive Community Program (ICP)

Telephone: 617-353-5330


Experience the Future of Classical Music!

BYSO Summer Camps 2019

July and August were busy months for young BYSO musicians. In late August, BYSO held its annual two-week
summer camp at New England Music Camp in Sidney, Maine, for members of BYS, REP and JRO. Students took
part in intensive rehearsals with BYSO conductors and artistic staff, while creating friendships with fellow
orchestra members. During their time in Maine, students also had the opportunity to participate in swimming,
kayaking, soccer, talent shows, karaoke, and more. It’s a great way to start the season. In July, students in BYSO’s
Intensive Community Program (ICP) participated in summer music camps at Noble and Greenough School.

Current and past BYSO graduating seniors have shared their favorite memories from their time at BYSO, and many of them have said that camp is one of their favorite memories. We asked, “Tell us about some of your favorite BYSO experiences”:

“BYSO camp is always one of the highlights of the year. As a place to focus solely on music-making and spending time with friends, it’s a great way to start the year. From sectionals in the morning to activities at night, those memories will always be a highlight of my experience at BYSO.” -Jeffrey Zhu, ’18

“BYSO camp and playing Symphonic Metamorphosis.” -Maria Tu, ’18

“Camp every summer with friends.” -Lailoo Perriello, ’18

“My first time going to camp…actually every time going to camp!” -Anna Kerber, ’18

“BYSO camp was always a highlight of my summer, since I got the chance to hang out with my friends and enjoy playing music.” -David Kennan, ’18

“I really cherish the friends and memories I’ve made at BYSO camp for the past 4 years that I’ve attended; I can’t think of a specific moment, but I just really enjoyed all of camp and no matter what memory I recall it is always a happy one.” -Amanda Xu, ’18

“I will always remember one rehearsal we had with John at camp during my very first year in BYSO. We were rehearsing Smetana’s Moldau in the bowl at sunset and the music was lacking something. John knew this, so he put his baton down and asked us if we’d ever just sat, alone, with no distractions, and watched the sun rise. I hadn’t. He told us that he’d actually just done this the day before and described the way it made him feel, how it looked and felt too perfect to be real. He described the emotions he had, how it was both a sad and happy moment for him, and told us that we had to channel that kind of energy into our music, the kind of energy you’d get from watching the sun rise, alone. He reminded us of the important job we had, to paint a complete picture for our audience. I don’t know why, but this gave me goosebumps. For all of us, the music suddenly meant more than just notes on a page; it had a purpose. Another moment I’ll always remember happened this summer at camp. During the Q&A with Fed, Fed had spoken about how we shouldn’t blame the great composers of the past, whether it’s Mozart, Bach, Stravinsky, Debussy etc., for the problems of today and we shouldn’t devalue the art of classical music by simply labeling it as “elitist.” In our final rehearsal at camp, Fed resumed this discussion and told us that he hoped we’d graduate from BYSO not only as good musicians, but also as good, decent people who use music as a tool to connect and better the world around them. This lesson is something I’ll carry with me wherever I go.” -Kimia Tabatabaei, ’18

“My favorite BYSO experience was getting to know and make friends at BYSO camp. My friends at BYSO are the kindest and most supportive friends I could have ever asked for and I am so grateful I had this year to create music with them.” -Rachael Chen, ’18

“Meeting lifelong friends at summer camp.” -Alexander Feltner Harrison, ’18

“I debated whether or not to audition for BYSO for an incredibly long time for the sole reason that I might feel inadequate or alone. Beginning the season with a mandatory camp with strangers just seemed to make it worse. But, immediately, I felt so welcome and so appreciated. For three summers, BYSO and its community somehow made endlessly long hours of rehearsal so enjoyable.” -Sun-Jung Yum, ’19

“I’ve made some of my best friends during BYSO camp.” -Chen Chen Huang, ’19

“I really enjoyed experiencing camp and making new friends there. I met a few folks I never would have imagined meeting anywhere else, and I want to keep those friendships alive for as long as possible.” -Olivia Ceterski, ’19

“Summer in Maine has been one of my favorite things about BYSO! Making new friends and learning awesome music is always a highlight.” -Cyan Jean, ’19

“BYSO camp for sure!! I remember my first ever BYSO camp so vividly. I was so excited by how everyone there loved classical music and loved the pieces we were playing—it was my first time being in that kind of environment. It was one of those experiences that solidified why I wanted to go into music.” -Grace Helmke, ’19

“Camp! Got to really work with and connect with byso campers (not just from BYS), and I also got to talk/interact with the conductors outside of rehearsal.” -Christopher Lee, ’19

“One of my favorite experiences has to be the annual summer camp; it’s so beyond inspiring to be surrounded by so many people who care so deeply about music and performance, and it has always pushed me to be better myself.” -Yingzi (Cherry) Xiang, ’19

Photos by Michael J. Lutch 

For more camp photos click here!

BYSO Alumni Year in Review

For over 60 years, young people have been affected, shaped and motivated by the experience they had with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. They’ve brought unique and creative qualities to their communities and to the world while achieving their own successes. BYSO is proud of the alumni that have gone out into and made the world a better place. Regardless of the path that they take after leaving BYSO, we hope that our students will take their experience at BYSO with them and stay in touch along the way.

In celebrating 20 years of success with our Intensive Community Program, we couldn’t forget about the many wonderful ICP alumni! To date, 100% of ICP graduates have graduated high school and have gone on to attend four-year colleges and universities, many being the first in their families to do so.

The ICP 20th celebration included a concert and reception on Sunday, December 16, 2018. We were thrilled to have 19 ICP alumni in attendance, and many performed a rendition of Joy to the World on-stage with current ICP students.

ICP alumni at the ICP 20 celebration. Photo by Michael J. Lutch 

The many accomplishments of our ICP alumni were also celebrated at this year’s Gala on Saturday, March 30, 2019. Several alumni served as speakers for the event, and 10 ICP alumni came to celebrate with us this year, while 6 ICP alumni performed a rendition of This Little Light of Mine on-stage with current ICP students.

On Sunday, May 12 we hosted our first ever senior/alumni networking breakfast. Several BYSO alumni, ranging from graduation years 1972 to 2016, welcomed our 2019 seniors into the alumni community – reflecting on their time in the orchestras, offering advice on college and their upcoming professional careers, and forging new friendships. We are looking forward to hosting this event in future years to come!

BYSO alumnus and current parent Jonathan Levi, ’72 and BYSO seniors exchange stories. 

Lastly, we are  excited to announce our first ever alumni gathering in NYC!

BYSO’s Annual Gala Celebrates ICP!

On Saturday, March 30, 2019 we were delighted to welcome more than 250 guests to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for our ninth Annual Gala—this year celebrating 20 years of the Intensive Community Program (ICP)! This Gala was uniquely special because we honored our Intensive Community Program (ICP), its students, its alumni, and its faculty. For 20 years, ICP has worked hard to make sure classical music is accessible to every child, no matter their background. We are pleased to report that this year’s Gala raised more than $300,000 for BYSO’s programs! A sincere thank you to everyone who attended and generously contributed to this effort.
The night was full of incredible music performed by our talented young musicians and alumni! To top it off, we had heartfelt speeches from our ICP students, alumni, and parents about their experience with ICP. It truly was an amazing evening celebrating ICP, BYSO, and the future of classical music. Please join us at next year’s Gala!

ICP Musicians performing at Gala 

ICP Alumni spoke at the event

ICP student meets Boston Police Commissioner, William Gross

Click here to view more photos from BYSO’s 2019 Gala

Successful 2018-2019 Chamber Music Season

Sunday, May 5th brought the annual Spring Chamber Music Concerts, and the end of what has been a spectacular season of music making for our 18 BYSO chamber groups.  With small groups representing all six of our large ensembles, we heard everything from the Hummel Miniatures to the Poulenc Sonata for Trumpet, Horn and Trombone and the Brahms Sextet in G Major.  I would like to give a huge shout out to our wonderful chamber music faculty, Anna Bradford, Ben Carson, Danby Cho, Min Choi, Miriam Eckelhoefer, Miguel Perez-Espejo, Phil Hyman, Agnes Kim, Marla Rubinson, and Hsin-Lin Tsai for all of the incredible work they have done with our groups this year. 

Other highlights included our BYSO Solo and Chamber Music Master Class serieswith guest artists: Boston Symphony Orchestra Cellist Owen Young, soloist and violinist of the Boston Trio, Irina Muresanu, BYSO alum and first violinist of the acclaimed ensemble Sybarite 5, Sarah Whitney and soloist and chamber musician Amadi Azikiwe.  These four internationally recognized artists worked with our BYS chamber ensembles and soloists were chosen from amongst the BYSO chamber music participants.  I was continually blown away by both the performance level and the grace and poise of our BYSO musicians.  Bravi tutti!

Our three honors ensembles, performing the Brahms and Mozart Clarinet Quintets, the Ravel String Quartet and the Debussy String Quartet, started rehearsing last August at BYSO camp in Maine, and were kept busy all season performing for special events throughout the season. The Debussy Quartet group was also invited to perform in the 3-part “Chapters in Chamber Music” community music series at the Boston Public Library. 

One of our Honors Ensembles gave a stellar performance of movements from Ravel’s String Quartet on a Concord Chamber Music Society Concert in November.  They were invited by Boston Symphony Orchestra violinist and Concord Chamber Music Society Artistic Director Wendy Putnam to open the concert.

Three cheers for the students, parents, coaches, staff and donors who have all worked so hard to make this season such a success.  Thank you to all, and we’ll see you up in Maine where we’ll kick off a new season of BYSO Chamber Music!

Why I Give: Thomas Hadley in his own words

Tomorrow’s the day – BYSO Day!

This is your LAST CHANCE to make a gift that will be matched in honor of BYSO Day – or an alumni gift that will be double matched! All alumni gifts will also be automatically entered into a raffle to receive a pair of tickets to the season finale concert on Sunday, June 9. Make your gift to BYSO today, and help take your support to our youth musicians even further!

Support from our incredible alumni is extra special to us. Although Thomas Hadley, ’83, no longer lives in the Greater Boston area, he still makes a monthly gift to BYSO.

“I had only been playing the horn for less than a year when I received an invitation to attend a two week summer camp in Hartford, CT. I only remember that we played Dvorak Symphony #9 and that I was seated as the assistant horn next to our principal, a young lady who I thought was absolutely God-like in her ability to play the horn, and who had placed a giant (G)BYSO sticker on her horn case.

This was all I needed to know; I wanted to be in (G)BYSO. I would say that I had never been and have still never been as sure about anything in my life.

Being a part of (G)BYSO proceeded to change everything. As a boy who didn’t have any particular scholastic talent or sporting abilities, I finally had my identity – my feeling of self-worth. I wasn’t a shy kid in (G)BYSO, but rather a fully participating member with friends and responsibilities and an enormous sense of accomplishment and pride. This experience in (G)BYSO set the stage for everything I have done in my life professionally, and personally as well. I still see friends I made when I was a member, and I still eagerly open my emails from (G)BYSO to see how the students and programs are doing. I am amazed at how grand it has become and grateful that so many young musicians can have the same types of experiences that I did, and can maybe find their own sense of self-worth and value while participating. This is my investment in today’s youth and I will continue to contribute in anyway I can in the future.” 

#BYSODay #WhyIGive

Why I Give: Abby and Sarah Kahler, in their own words

BYSO is just ONE week away on April 23! Any gifts between now and April 23 will be matched in honor of BYSO Day – BUT if you are an alumni, your gift will be double matched! Your gift will go even further in supporting our students, and ensuring that even more youth can partake in our exceptional programming. Make your gift to BYSO today!

Support from our incredible alumni is extra special to us. Abby and Sarah Kahler are sisters, and recent graduates of BYSO. Here’s why both of them have chosen to give back! 

“I give back to (G)BYSO because it gave me some of the happiest memories I have. It gave me soul friends to last a lifetime, who I know I can reach out to and be my true self with, even now that we are spread all over the country, and even when we haven’t talked in months – or sometimes years! It gave me a sense of self by grounding me in my musicianship, taught me how good it feels to work hard at something, and the high quality that dedicated practice can yield. It gave me teachers, like John Holland, who with humor and grace taught me not only how to play violin, but about life.

I didn’t realized it back then, but all the time I spent playing music on those Sundays was sort of like a meditation; the music was something I could be completely absorbed in. I give back to BYSO each year because I now know how formative it was for me, and I want other young people to be able to experience the things I did in their own way through BYSO!”

“When I started BYSO back in 2007, I had no idea how much influence the orchestra would have on my life. BYSO not only gave me the opportunity and privilege to play with musicians, like members of the BSO and Yo-Yo Ma, and to perform on some amazing stages, but it gave me a group of friends that will last a lifetime. With the help of these friends, the orchestra’s amazing conductors, sectional coaches, and assistants, I was able to improve my skills as a violist significantly more than I could ever imagine.

Music will always be such a big part of my life and one of my main sources of happiness, thanks to BYSO. I give back as a young alumna because without BYSO, I would not be the musician or person I am today. My hope is that my contributions, as well as others, will allow young musicians to find the same passion for music that BYSO gave me and so many others.”