SCHENECTADY — The Empire State Youth Orchestra recently announced its schedule for the 2017-18 season, it’s 15th and last season for its music director.
The 2017-18 season of Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO) includes world-class collaborations, more than 30 public performances in styles ranging from classical to jazz and percussion, and a record-breaking 500 musicians. Among its highlights, ESYO’s 39th season includes a newly commissioned P.D.Q. Bach piano concerto, a collaboration with the crowd-rousing Piano Battle at Proctors, a birthday bash for American composers, a first-ever wind orchestra tour to Hungary, and the second annual Encore Stage. Also included are long-time audience favorites Melodies of Christmas and the annual Playathon at Crossgates Mall.
The year will also mark the farewell season of Music Director Helen Cha-Pyo. Cha-Pyo previously announced that this season, her fifteenth, will be her last as she moves on to become artistic director and New Jersey Youth Symphony conductor for the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts in New Jersey.
“I can’t imagine a more exciting way to complete an incredible journey with Empire State Youth Orchestra than this season,” said Cha-Pyo. “As we continue to grow the program, we are connecting more children to music in the Capital Region. In just three years, we have gone from 350 musicians to now well over 500, expanding the impact of the ESYO Experience even deeper into our community. … I hope every member of the community has the opportunity to see at least one of this season’s events. You will leave a believer in the power of music to change lives. I guarantee it.”
Highlights of 2017-18
Oct. 24: ESYO’s annual Young People’s Concert and Free Concert for Senior Citizens at Proctors. These concerts reach into the heart of the community to share the joy of classical music with young and old. Over 2,000 area school children filled Proctors last season.
Nov. 4: ESYO Youth Orchestra joins pianist Jeffery Biegel at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in the New York State premiere of a newly commission work by the beloved musical satirist Peter Schickele, better known as P.D.Q. Bach. The piece, The Simply Grand Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, was commissioned by ESYO and orchestras around the nation and features Peter Schickele’s characteristic laugh-out-loud humor and inventive playing. The program will include Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.
Dec 14-17: ESYO Youth Orchestra and ESYO Youth Chorale perform in CBS 6’s annual Melodies of Christmas concerts at Proctors to benefit the pediatric oncology program at Albany Medical Center.
Feb. 3: ESYO’s annual Playathon at Crossgates Mall. Every ESYO ensemble will perform for free at the mall in an all-day musical marathon. The day will include auctions to win the conductor’s baton and lead the orchestra as well as a musical “petting zoo.”
Feb 11: ESYO Youth Orchestra teams up with the crowd-pleasing Piano Battle on the mainstage for a Proctors-produced concert. In a classical music first, the dynamic piano duo makes the audience the judge of their exhilarating, tongue-in-cheek battle. Weaving the orchestra into the act in inventive ways, Piano Battle has performed for sold out audiences around the globe.
April 29: ESYO Youth Orchestra presents a Birthday Bash of American Composers at the historic Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, featuring the season’s Lois Lyman Concerto Competition Winner and celebrating Leonard Bernstein at 100 and Samuel Alder at 90.
More information about ESYO’s program and concerts can be found at esyo.org.