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Students benefit from involvement in Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras

[media-credit name=”Maliha Ali” align=”alignright” width=”142″] Senior Allysa Lujares practices the viola with the rest of the Orchestra during G-block rehearsal.
by Leah Budson
At age six, senior Allysa Lujares was one of about 500 students accepted to the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras.

Currently, Lujares and eight other students at this school enjoy the larger and more competitive nature of BYSO, according to Lujares.

Since its inception in 1958, BYSO has performed at countless venues, including the White House and Carnegie Hall and has toured countries such as Colombia, France, Germany, Israel and Hungary. The Orchestra is made up of students ages six through 18 from New England.

Lujares’ favorite memory from BYSO was her first concert at Symphony Hall. “I was so excited because how many people, even professionals, get to say that played at Symphony Hall for the first time at the age of six or seven?” she said.
“I love getting the opportunity to place at amazing places like Symphony Hall, MIT, Jordan Hall, Faneuil Hall and even going on tour with BYSO.”

The only downside is the commitment, she said. “The rehearsals are on Sunday, and they are very long,” said Lujares, who has rehearsal for five hours each weekend.

Lujares plays viola in BYSO and in this school’s Orchestra and String Ensemble, in addition to singing in Family Singers. “Orchestra at North is so different from BYSO because it isn’t as competitive, and you don’t have to audition for North Orchestra like you have to do for BYSO each year,” she said. “At BYSO, you get to experience something that is close to being professional.”

Despite the benefit of the BYSO’s competitive nature, Lujares found that her favorite part of BYSO is developing life-long friendships with her peers and teachers. “It’s fun being close friends with people from all over the New England area, and you are with the top people of the area.”
Sophomore Adam Zupancic, who has been playing violin in BYSO for the past four years, echoed Lujares statement. “I love being in BYSO because you can connect with some very talented musicians,” he said. “Having an orchestra separate from this school is great because it gives you a chance to meet musicians from all around New England, who all play at a high level.”
Zupancic also enjoys being able to perform in “the most serious youth orchestra that I know of,” he said. “The conductors are extraordinary, and it is great to be able to work with them,” he said.
Music teacher Adam Grossman, who directs this school’s Orchestra, also attended BYSO when he was in high school. “It was great,” Grossman said, describing it as an important part of his musical education.

“Students get to work with talented and serious conductors, as well as students from other schools who are serious about what they do,” he said.

“It’s different than this school’s Orchestra because they can be more selective. Our Orchestra here, while very good, is by its nature inclusive. In these outside groups, only the people who are very serious about playing this kind of music can get in,” he said.

According to Grossman, a second difference is that BYSO has the ability to play repertoire that involves much larger orchestras than the Orchestra at this school.

Grossman also noted that there are many outside orchestras similar to BYSO that students are involved with, such as those at the New England Conservatory, the Longy School of Music and the Rivers School Conservatory.

BYSO’s first concert of the season is Sunday, October 28 at Symphony Hall. Tickets are available online for $25 to $30.

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