New youth orchestra cultivates young western Sydney talent

(ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
“The idea is to try and break down some of those geographical borders while still providing high-quality music education,” Mr Pensini said.”It’s an honour to be involved, to start this project, and having grown up around here, there’s a double layer to be able to give back in some form what I received over my long period in youth orchestras.”Mr Pensini also conducts the SYO Symphonic Wind Orchestra and is the head of woodwind, brass and percussion at St Aloysius’ College in Milsons Point.The orchestra’s first concert will feature a strong repertoire, with the second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov, The Moldau by Smetana and the much-loved crowd favourite Rossini’s William Tell Overture.Cultivating young talentThe orchestra’s 30 musicians range from musical grades five to AMusA levels.For many, it has been their first experience of playing in an amateur orchestra outside of music lessons or a school ensemble. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
WSYO offered a number of scholarships for positions in the orchestra which Mr Pensini said allowed them to support and find young talent.”Sometimes the very best players aren’t in a financial position to join the organisation and pay for the tuition, the camps and the tours,” he said.”Some might be the only person in their school who plays an instrument to their high standard and they’re just begging to sink their teeth into something more meaty.”The Western Sydney Youth Orchestra will perform at the Parramatta Riverside Theatres on March 26. 7, fourth movement of Brahms’ Symphony No. Photo:
Blacktown student Keith Lizardo is playing with a youth orchestra for the first time. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
The orchestra rehearses every Monday evening, with musicians expected to perform with the discipline and musicality that is demanded in any orchestral ensemble.Sarah Wang is a 21-year-old flutist who is studying a Bachelor of Music at the University of NSW.She said the orchestra was slowly starting to come together following an intensive music camp that kickstarted rehearsals in February.”It was daunting at first because you didn’t know what to expect from a new orchestra, but it’s been really fun.”We’ve only been rehearsing for three, four weeks now but we’re creating something really special.”Sixteen-year-old Keith Lizardo decided to audition for WSYO this year because the rehearsal space was so much closer to his home in Blacktown than other orchestras.”It’s a lot more efficient than going to eastern Sydney and a lot less time consuming,” the violinist said.”I come from a school which has a musical band but doesn’t play to that [high] standard.”Playing in the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra with people my age and at a similar standard is an excellent opportunity for me.”

The Sydney Youth Orchestra encompasses 13 ensembles. Photo:
James Pensini is currently conducting the SYO that will tour Europe next year. When James Pensini was learning the trumpet and performing in youth orchestras, he would commute up to four hours daily from the Blue Mountains to rehearsals in the city.So when he was invited to lead the new Western Sydney Youth Orchestra in Parramatta, he welcomed the opportunity for young musicians to play much closer to home.The orchestra, which is made up of players from across western Sydney, the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains, is in the middle of rehearsals for its inaugural concert on March 26.It joins the long standing Sydney Youth Orchestra family which has trained thousands of young musicians in the past 44 years.
ABC Radio Sydney


Amanda Hoh


March 02, 2017 11:35:03

Video: Watch the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra rehearse Capriccio Espagnol

(ABC News)
Sydney 2000
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