Obituary: Martin C. Dreiwitz, founder of the Long Island Youth Orchestra, 91

Posted on: July 7, 2022

“Martin C. Dreiwitz, who drew on his twin passions for travel and classical music to found the globe-trotting Long Island Youth Orchestra, conducting his student musicians before audiences as close as Great Neck … and as far away as Karachi and Kathmandu, … died on June 20 at a hospital near his home in Oyster Bay, N.Y. He was 91,” writes Clay Risen in last Thursday’s (6/30) New York Times. “Steven Behr, the president of the orchestra’s board of directors, said the cause was a heart attack. The orchestra may have counted some 100 performers, but Mr. Dreiwitz … raised the funds, scouted for new members, cajoled parents … and conducted every performance from its founding in 1962 to his retirement in 2012…. In addition to playing four concerts a year, mostly … in Brookville, N.Y., the orchestra went on a summer tour, almost always abroad…. Though he trained as a classical clarinetist, Mr. Dreiwitz was, in fact, a travel agent by trade … He treated his musicians like adults, and saw his mission as less about pedagogy than about preparation for a professional music career…. The orchestra’s 4,000 (and counting) alumni have gone on to play in many of the country’s major [orchestras]…. He is survived by his two sons, Tuan Dinh and Dung Dinh.”