Bay Area youth orchestra focuses on Chinese instruments

Posted on: October 20, 2011

In Thursday’s (10/20) Contra Costa Times (California), Jennifer Modenessi writes about Sherlyn Chew, founder and artistic director of the Great Wall Youth Orchestra and Chorus, which uses traditional Chinese instruments. “The first orchestra and chorus of their kind in the Bay Area, the groups are part of a program Chew estimates has given about 15,000 children, many of them latchkey kids from immigrant families, the opportunity to play music and study with professional Chinese musicians who moonlight as teaching assistants, since its inception in 1995.… Some of the children have performed publicly with respected conductors, including Oakland East Bay Symphony’s Michael Morgan, and orchestras such as the San Francisco Symphony…. ‘While the focus is Chinese instruments, it’s open to all students,’ says Oakland East Bay Symphony conductor Morgan, who serves as a board member of the Purple Silk Music Education Foundation, the nonprofit organization that, along with grants, provides financial support to the music programs. ‘It is the very model of the inclusivity we all strive for and should be imitated everywhere.’ ”

Posted October 20, 2011