Review: NYO-USA’s teenage musicians play Sibelius, Hearne, Gershwin

Posted on: July 24, 2018

“Something unexpected happened for me during the middle of Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2, performed by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States under Michael Tilson Thomas on Thursday evening at Carnegie Hall,” writes Seth Colter Walls in Friday’s (7/20) New York Times. “I forgot I was listening to teenagers. Instead, I was concentrating on the work’s brooding transitions, and thinking about the second movement’s route between delicate pizzicato phrases and heights of bombast…. This was creditable as a richly imagined, fully professional performance…. In the premiere of Ted Hearne’s ‘Brass Tacks,’ commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the orchestra gave a crisp reading of a piece with diverse influences…. Vaulting themes … were frequently, daringly interrupted and recalibrated, all without losing a sense of forward momentum…. Similarly sensitive was Gershwin’s jazz-informed Piano Concerto in F, with Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist…. Carnegie’s attention to American swing will have another outlet with the debut of a new ensemble, called NYO Jazz, on July 27. And a younger group, NYO2, will also make a Carnegie appearance, on July 24. These should both prove well worth hearing, given the high standard achieved by the flagship National Youth Orchestra: no grading-on-a-youthful-curve necessary.”

Posted July 24, 2018