Each year, we award the Robert Hardt Memorial Award and the Philip J. Smith Award to seniors in the graduating class. Read about the awards and this year's recipients below!
The Robert Hardt Memorial Award
The Robert Hardt Memorial Award for outstanding musical achievement is awarded every year to an outstanding BYSO senior who displays talent, character, responsibility, significant contribution to the organization, and who plans to pursue a career in music. The award comes with a cash prize.
Robert J. Hardt was a dedicated member of BYSO for four years. He played timpani under conductor Walter Eisenberg and planned to study music after graduation. He was accepted to the Eastman School of Music, Juilliard, and the New England Conservatory. Robert never made it to college that fall because he was stricken by a heart attack during a hockey game. Robert died the morning of BYSO's 15th anniversary concert. That night, his teacher Tom Gauger performed his part. Robert was committed to music. He participated in his high school band and orchestra, All-State Orchestra, All-Eastern Orchestra, and had been invited for two years to play in the National American Youth performance in Washington, D.C. He performed in the Youth Artist Program at Tanglewood and was a member of the Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble. His friends remember him with smiles, recalling his modesty and love of life. In memory of Robert, his family set up an award to recognize a graduating senior who will carry on Robert's passion for life and music. In a friend's yearbook, Robert Hardt wrote, "Don't ever forget BYSO." We continue to remember his dedication to music and his true spirit for BYSO.
The Philip J. Smith Award
The Philip J. Smith Award honors a BYSO senior who fosters the ideals of Mr. Smith. These include musical excellence, leadership, participation in various BYSO orchestras and ensembles, length of membership in BYSO, a significant musical and personal contribution to BYSO, and a devotion to creating a supportive and positive atmosphere within the BYSO community. The recipient of the Smith Award need not pursue a career in music. Philip J. Smith served on the BYSO Board of Directors for 20 years, witnessing the appointment of five music directors and traveling on three international tours. Mr. Smith served as president of the board from 1988-1991 and from 1996-2000.
BYSO PROUDLY AWARDS:
The Robert Hardt Memorial Award
Ethan Chaves, Violin ● Lau Yeung Wong, Tuba
The Philip J. Smith Award
Noanddi Manigat, bass • Sava Thurber, violin
Ethan Chaves is a 12th grade student from Charlton, MA. He studies violin at Juilliard Pre-College with Joel Smirnoff and Naoko Tanaka, and studies
composition with Eric Ewazen and John Harbison. Ethan is currently in his 11th season with BYSO and 8th with BYS. He is a proud member of the BYS student committee and honors chamber group. He has received
numerous awards for his violin playing, including 1st place in the 2022 UMass Young Artist Awards, Finalist for Classical Music in National YoungArts, Winner of the BYS Concerto Competition, 3rd Prize in the Boston
Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition, and 1st Prize in the Stasia B. Hovenesia Prize of the Music Guild of Music Worcester. In 2019, he received the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award with an appearance on NPR’s From The Top. He has been a participant of masterclasses with artists such as Julia Fischer, Anne Akiko-Meyers, Kirill Troussov, Mark Kaplan, Elmar Oliveira, and Itamar Zorman. During the summer, Ethan has attended a variety of festivals and camps, including the Heifetz Institute, Curtis Summerfest, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and the Holy Cross Chamber Music Festival. For the summer of 2022 he will be a member of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States. Ethan has also received acclaim for his work in composition, being named an “emerging composer” by Tribeca New Music. He was also named a finalist in the National Young Composers Challenge and the 2022 New Music on the Bluff festival. His works have been read and performed at venues including the Juilliard School, Loyola Marymount University, and National Sawdust by performers and ensembles including the New York Youth Symphony, Juilliard Pre College Symphony, Kenichiro Aiso, Jessica Meyer, and Thomas Kraines. This fall, Ethan will begin his studies at Harvard University and New England Conservatory through their dual degree program.
Lau Yeung Wong
Lau Yeung Wong began playing the tuba at age 9 with Andrew Knight, then studied with Jerome Stover. He joined BYSO at age 12 where he has played with JRO, REP and BYS, and has been a student of Jobey Wilson since age 14. Lau has also played with the NEC’s Junior and Senior Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensembles, as well as the NEC’s Youth Symphony and the Rivers Youth Orchestras. Moreover, he performed with Bentley University's pep band and Boston College's wind ensemble. In February of 2020, he traveled to France with the Senior MYWE and had multiple performances with Sr. MYWE, including a brass quintet performance. He performed at the All-Eastern National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Orchestra in 2021, and four MMEA ALL-State Festivals as the principal tubist. He was selected to perform at the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) ALL-National Honor Ensembles, but unfortunately was unable to attend due to Covid cancellations. In June of 2021, he received the Leslie Holmes Young Artists Award and the Leslie Holmes Band Award. In March of 2022, Lau placed third in the high school division of the 2021-2022 Phoenix Brass Collective International Young Artist Competition for Brass and Percussion, with his performance of Concerto in one movement by Alexej K. Lebedev. In May of 2022, Laureceived the Philip Turner Music Award. One of Lau's favorite musical experiences so far would be the Opera performances with BYS. After graduation, Lau will be attending The Juilliard School, where he will major in tuba performance. He is looking forward to studying tuba with Alan Baer, as well as attending Low Brass Classes led by Joe Alessi from the New York Philharmonic.
Noanddi Manigat, a bassist and recent graduate from The Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, started playing with ICP in 2010. Being a member of ICP has granted him numerous musical experiences, such as performing in Boston’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations, playing chamber music on WCVB CityLine, performing in Symphony Hall, traveling to Los Angeles, artist residency at the Walnut Hill school, and teaching younger ICP students during summer camp. In 2019, he joined the Boston Youth Symphony (BYS), and his quartet was selected for the BYS Honors Chamber program. He especially enjoyed performing in Bartok’s Wooden Prince Suite and preparing for Mahler’s 6th Symphony. In the Fall of 2019, Noanddi joined the Boston BEAM (Bridge to Equity & Achievement in Music) program. Beyond music, Noanddi is interested in science. He hopes to pursue a dual degree in engineering and music at Skidmore College in the fall.
Sava Thurber was born in Exeter, NH, in 2004 and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy (PEA) in 2022. He started learning violin at age three with PEA faculty member, Louise Kandle, and joined the studio of Ms. Eva Gruesser, first violin of the Lark Quartet, in 2014. In the last year, Sava has also been studying with Mr. Daniel Chong, first violin of the Parker Quartet.
In high school, Sava was concertmaster of PEA’s Symphony Orchestra. In 2021, he won the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra’s concerto competition and his Accenti Trio was a semi-finalist in the international Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.
For the past ten seasons, Sava has enjoyed playing with all the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO) ensembles that feature strings. In 2018, Sava and his brother, Dacha, were co-winners of the Boston Youth Symphony’s (BYS) concerto competition. That same year, Sava traveled with BYS to Leipzig, Germany, where they performed at the world-famous BachFest. Other memorable BYSO experiences included performing in five operas, playing both violin and viola in chamber groups, being mentored by all the wonderful BYSO conductors and violin coaches, attending the annual BYSO camp, and enjoying his many BYSO friendships.
In 2017, Sava and Dacha started a music program at a school and orphanage in Haiti, with instruments they purchased with their busking proceeds. Two years later, the boys performed for Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia and donated musical instruments and sports gear to Serbian orphans.
At the start of the pandemic, Sava started a YouTube/Instagram livestream for quarantined families, co-hosted with Dacha. Their 2 DA BEAT show quickly became a hit, thanks to Sava’s unique combination of music, history, wise cracks, and musical theory. 2 DA BEAT raised thousands of dollars for BYSO, the Equal Justice Initiative, and the NAACP.
Sava also enjoys Rubik’s puzzles and track and field. In 2021, he was the javelin state champion and attended the 2022 National Championship with his 4x400m relay team. He grew up spending summers at Camp Belknap and has served on the leadership since 2020. After a gap year, Sava will matriculate at Harvard University.
2023-24 Auditions are now open. Learn more about this season’s audition process and requirements.