2017 Review

Thank you for everything you did to make 2017 an amazing year for FSYO!

Here are some of the highlights:

  • 16 Central Florida Concerts
  • 33 Small ensemble gigs for community partners
  • 1,318.5 hours donated by volunteers assisting with FSYO rehearsals and concerts
  • Hosted an Opera Ball featuring The Symphonic Orchestra with UCF Opera
  • 12-day European tour which included 3 countries, 8 concerts, and 3 master classes
  • 2nd Place in the Summa Cum Laude Youth International Music Festival
  • Launch of New Jazz Orchestra
  • Performance collaborations with national and international groups, including:
    • UCF Opera
    • FSYO Alumni Ensemble
    • Orlando Ballet School
    • Montverde Academy Choir
    • Central Florida Vocal Arts
    • Opera Orlando
    • New Jersey Youth Symphony
    • Holocaust Memorial Education and Resource Center
    • Camberwell Music Ensemble (Australia)
    • Manila Youth Symphony Orchestra (Philippines)
    • Violonissimo Orchestra (Germany)
    • Little Star Choir Shanghai (China)
    • Shenzhen Experimental School (China)

Take a look back at the first half of FSYO's 2017-2018 season:



23519391 10155939680044314 1767109334151945231 nOn December 3rd, Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras' Symphonic Orchestra, led by Music Director Hanrich Claassen, will help you kick off your holidays with Sounds of the Season. This concert will bring everyone together for an afternoon picnic accompanied by an array of holiday classics and exciting collaborations with local arts organizations, such as the Orlando Ballet School, University of Central Florida Opera, Montverde Academy, and Central Florida Vocal Arts.

The Orlando Ballet School has choreographed dances to perform with our Symphonic Orchestra on movements from The Nutcracker Suite and will join with soloists from UCF Opera to bring to life Evening Prayer and Dream Pantomime from Hansel and Gretel. Young singers from Montverde Academy and Central Florida Vocal Arts will be joining them in the choir on several pieces, including O Holy Night and A Christmas Recessional from A Festival of Carols.

"I can't think of a better way to get in the spirit for the Holidays than with a picnic shared between friends and family in the beautiful Mead Gardens and letting the FSYO Symphonic orchestra entertain you! We are excited to feature the talents of sopranos Alyssa Cassidy and Linsey Duca, mezzo-sopranos Lisamarie Guadalupe and Gayssie Lugo, and baritones Matthew Fackler and Thomas Potter from UCF Opera, backed by a choir from Montverde Academy and Central Florida Vocal Arts. We will once again collaborate with Dierdre Miles Burger and Kim Marsh with their wonderful dancers from Orlando Ballet School and present to you scenes from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker and Humperdick's Hansel and Gretel. I promise - we have all your Holiday Season favorites on the program!" - Hanrich Claassen, Music Director, and Symphonic Orchestra Conductor

We encourage you to come with your blanket and bring a picnic to have with your friends and family. The concert will begin at 3:00 p.m. at The Grove at Mead Botanical Gardens - 1500 S. Denning Dr, Winter Park, FL 32789. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for students and seniors, and can be purchased at www.fsyo.org. As always, teachers receive free admission to this and all FSYO Season Subscription events.

ABOUT FSYO: Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras exists to encourage children and young adults, through the practice and performance of orchestral music, to become passionate leaders, thinkers, and contributors in their local community and beyond. In its 61st Concert Season, FSYO comprises three full orchestras, one string training orchestra, an advanced chamber ensemble, and a new jazz orchestra made up of more than 250 students from nine Central Florida counties. Programs are sponsored in part by the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; Orlando Utilities Commission; The City of Orlando, Mayor's Matching Grant; and United Arts of Central Florida. We thank these groups for their generous support.

Learn more: web: www.fsyo.org | FB: @TheFSYO | Twitter: @FSYO | IG: @F_S_Y_O | Youtube: @fsyo

ABOUT ORLANDO BALLET SCHOOL: Orlando Ballet School is regarded as one of the finest training academies in the world and is the official school of the Orlando Ballet. The school has been named "Outstanding School" at the New York finals of Youth America Grand Prix three times. With three locations in Central Florida, Orlando Ballet School adheres to the American Ballet Theatre® National Training curriculum and our American Ballet Theatre® certified teachers provide disciplined training for dancers of all ages. For more information, visit http://orlandoballet.org/education-training/school/

ABOUT MONTVERDE ACADEMY MUSIC CONSERVATORY: Montverde Academy Music Conservatory is a school unique in central Florida: a place where talented students advance their music skills, learn from highly trained educators, and have access to first-class facilities. Montverde Academy fosters an environment where students are challenged both academically and artistically, and the days are bursting with possibilities and enrichment. Students are encouraged, involved, and vested in their academic and musical education. They spend every school day under the tutelage of highly skilled professionals. Upon graduation, students are prepared for the rigors of any top-notch college, university, or conservatory of music. Our award-winning program offers majors in piano, strings, voice and musical theatre. Just 20 minutes from downtown Orlando with access to all of the best and most diverse performers and venues the area has to offer, the Montverde Academy Music Conservatory has its fingers on the arts pulse of Central Florida.

ABOUT CENTRAL FLORIDA VOCAL ARTS: An important part of Central Florida Vocal Arts' mission is to train the artists of tomorrow. We have established two initiatives to provide training opportunities for future artists. The first initiative, our Bel Canto Scholarship fund is a year-round opportunity offered to students who show promise in the arts and can establish a financial need. The second initiative, our Summer Institutes, train artists in all aspects of the performing arts including voice, dance, acting, technical production, script writing, set construction, audition preparation and more. For more information, visit http://www.centralfloridavocalarts.com/

ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA OPERA: Opera at UCF, under the direction of Thomas Potter, is an integral part of UCF's School of Performing Arts, housed within the College of Arts and Humanities. Its principal goals are to produce quality performances which entertain and educate and to prepare students for professional involvement within the opera genre. Annual performances include an Opera Scenes Concert each fall and a fully staged production each spring. This spring, UCF Opera will be producing two one-act operas, Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Michael Ching's sequel to that opera, named Buoso's Ghost - with performances in the Dr. Phillips Center for the Arts downtown. For more information, visit http://music.cah.ucf.edu/opera | FB:UCF-Op-Shop | Twitter:@UCFOpera

ABOUT MEAD BOTANICAL GARDEN: Mead Botanical Garden is a 48-acre urban oasis located in the heart of Orange County in beautiful Winter Park. For more information, visit https://www.meadgarden.org/

Behind the Scenes: Jeff Rupert

 G6D9610 1How old were you when you began playing music?

I started playing the alto saxophone when I was ten. I believe I took some piano lessons the year before.

Did you always know you wanted to lead an orchestra? What was your career/education path to get here?

No. I always wanted to play jazz. I did not dream of conducting a jazz band at that time. I knew I always wanted to play music though. When I was 10, I used to turn on recordings of Mozart symphonies and conduct them in the mirror- that was fun. I did not get serious about my musical studies until late in high school. I went to Rutgers, and my roommates were working with Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Machito, (of afro-cuban jazz fame), and Jackie Byard. My classmates had almost as much impact on me as my teachers did.

What is your primary instrument?

The tenor saxophone. I used to do a lot of studio work, playing sax, clarinet, and flute. I've gotten so busy the last twenty years with endeavors performing as a jazz saxophonist that I've had to put aside the flute and clarinet. I play a lot of piano, with regard to orchestrating and working on harmony and melody for improvisation. My mom's side of the family were violinists. I have a Tirolian fiddle that has been in my family since the early 1800's. I play it a little as a reference for composing and arranging for the orchestra, or string ensembles. I also think of a band as my instrument. I've produced about thirty albums now, and enjoy that a lot.

What's the best advice you received when you were a young musician?

To study something I love, but to accept that few people make a living in their field of study. This person went on to say that it was important to get a degree, and if it was in music, that that was OK, too, but to accept that going to school was primarily about "learning how to learn".

What advice would you give FSYO students, or young people thinking of auditioning for FSYO?

The students that do the best are the ones who don't get nervous, and those that are calm are the ones that practiced diligently before an audition. The hardest part for any musician is the individual time practicing. If the arduous time for a musician is the performance or audition itself, that simply reveals that they needed to put more emphasis on constructive individual work in the practice room. Keep that in mind when you are working on your playing. I always say, " plan your work, and work your plan".

If you weren't a conductor, what career would you want to try?

I've been playing music professionally since I was 15 years old; that's 38 years, now. If I didn't do this, I'm not sure what I would have done. I never really thought about doing anything else. I might have pursued designing sailboat hulls, have been involved in some other maritime engineering. My father was a vice president of a multinational corporation. In hindsight, I think I would have had some satisfaction with a career in business had I not pursued music. My dad passed away recently, but he always thought I had good business acumen, and that I worked hard primarily because I was doing things I loved. It's important to remember that even if you are doing what you love, it's still going to be hard! You may as well do something then, that you love.

2017 Concerto Competition Wrap Up


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Saturday, November 18, 2017, was an exciting day for Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras and our eight young Concerto Competition finalists, as we presented our Annual Concerto Competition Recital. This event showcased the talent and skill of our finalists and the students were given the opportunity to hone their skills as a soloist.

Previous winners have gone on to study at Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, The Boston Conservatory, among other prestigious institutions. The experience of performing at the November recital, supported by a piano reduction of the orchestral parts, has proven to be invaluable to the young artists’ growth.

Each year, two winners have the opportunity to perform the concerto of their choice with full accompaniment from the FSYO Symphonic Orchestra later in the season. This year our winners were Curtis Shugart (cello) and Alex Koller (viola).

Alex Koller performed Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, Sz. 120, BB 128, Mvt. I - B. Bartok, which will be featured on our program at The Celebration Foundation Classical Concert Series on February 11, 2018, at the Celebration Community Presbyterian Church at 5 p.m. We are extremely proud of all of our students who tried out and performed in the finals.

Curtis Shugart will perform Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 49, Mvt. III - D. Kabalevsky at the 2018 61st Concert Season Finale Concert on May 6, 2018, at the Bob Carr Theater, 4 p.m.

University of Florida's Dr. Raymond Chobaz visits FSYO

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FSYO's Symphonic Orchestra with Dr. Chobaz

Dr. Chobaz gave a full three-hour rehearsal with the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra in Orlando on Sunday, November 5, 2017. During rehearsal, FSYO"s Symphonic Orchestra worked on Camille Saint-Saëns's Symphony No. 3

About Dr. Chobaz: Raymond Chobaz, Professor of Music and Conductor Laureate of the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra, has been music director and conductor of the University of Florida Symphony Orchestra since 1982 and the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra from its inception in 1983 to 2001. He studied at the Basel Conservatory and Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Switzerland, where he obtained a Master of Arts degree summa cum laude in music theory. As an International Rotary Scholar at the University of Utah he received both a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting under Joseph Rosenstock and a Ph.D. in music composition and electronic music under Vladimir Ussachevsky. Further studies allowed him to work with Herbert Blomstedt in San Francisco, Kyrill Kondrashin in Amsterdam, Raphael Kubelik in Lucerne, Erich Leinsdorf in New York City, Witold Rowicki in Vienna, and Georg Tintner in Prague. Additional training in contemporary music interpretation he acquired from Pierre Boulez in Paris and Arthur Weisberg in New York City.

BRUNDIBAR Wrap Up - Sounds of Hope and Resistance

Brundibar Promo
On November 2, 2017, the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center was able to fulfill a seemingly unattainable dream of hosting Brundibar which has been a project for over a decade and a half. They were able to achieve this dream with the help of Opera Orlando and several of our own students from our Symphonic Orchestra. Maestro Hanrich Claassen was gracious enough to serve as Music Director for this performance, as well as conduct a performance of Vedem by composer Lori Laitman
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FSYO's Music Director, Hanrich Claassen Vedem pictured Lori Laitman 
“Never forget! What an honor for FSYO to have played a small part in keeping the memory alive of the many lives lost during the Holocaust! We loved being part of the recent production of Brundibar and Vedem presented by the Holocaust Center in a collaboration with FSYO and members of the Opera Orlando Youth company.” - Hanrich Claassen, Music Director, and Symphonic Orchestra Conductor.
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FSYO students featured in Brundibar
We are incredibly proud of our students who performed in this show this year. We felt that this performance gave our students an opportunity to experience such an emotional time for so many people in our community and throughout the world. Music Director Claassen adds that in times such as these, he always thinks of the Leonard Berstein quote, “This must be the mission of every man of goodwill: to insist, unflaggingly, at risk of becoming a repetitive bore, but to insist on the achievement of a world in which the mind will have triumphed over violence. This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras | (407) 999-7800 | info@fsyo.org

Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras is supported in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and United Arts of Central Florida, host of power2give.org/centralflorida and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.

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Thank you to our 2017-2018 print sponsor, OUC The Reliable One


Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras is a proud member of the League of American Orchestras

75 Years LAO FINAL color Member 2