On Saturday night, an elite orchestra made up of the best young musicians across the country, led by conductor Valery Gergiev, will take the stage at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.
It’s not the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. Nor is it the orchestra that was just honed at the National Orchestral Institute, held annually at the University of Maryland. It isn’t the New World Symphony. And it isn’t the NSO Summer Music Institute Orchestra, which this summer is bringing young musicians from 28 states and three countries to the Kennedy Center. That orchestra is playing the following night.
No, the one-of-a-kind youth orchestra that’s coming here is called the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America; it was founded by Carnegie Hall, and it’s in its maiden season.
Our nation hardly lacks youth orchestras. There are six year-round organizations in the Washington area alone. Then there are the ensembles mentioned above, part of a bouquet of festival orchestras that draw students from across the country during the summer. Each has a slightly different mission. But none of them is doing what the National Youth Orchestra (NYO-USA) is doing: taking a bunch of talented kids on tour to some of the leading venues in the world — the Kennedy Center, the Proms in London, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg.