Students on the go!

A HUGE congrats to our very own FSYO Symphonic Orchestra concert-mistress Emily Erdman, who was chosen for the National Association for Music Education All National Orchestra as their concert-mistress! You make us proud!

This weekend Brenton Zhang will be a finalist in the Tampa Bay Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition. We wish you all the very best!!

A big congrats, of course to our very own FSYO Concerto Competition Finalists, in alphabetical order Chase DeCarlo, Emily Erdman, Molly Kaplan, Emily Kipp, Alex Koller, Jakob Schoenfield, Lauryn Sparger and Brenton Zhang. They will compete on November 19th at 5pm at Montverde Academy Sandra O. Stephens Auditorium.

Congrats to the following students who were chosen for the FSU Tri-State band and the Florida Orchestra Association Annual All-State Orchestra Festivals:

36th annual Florida State University TRI-STATE BAND FESTIVAL

Miguel Barrios (Symphonic)

Jack Carr (Symphonic)

Sam Dufresne (Symphonic)

Nicole Gironda (Symphonic)

Thomas Larger (Philharmonia)

Pedro Mujica (Symphonic)

Bryce Nguyen (Philharmonia)

KeeJin Yoon (Symphonic)

9-10 and 11-12 All- State Orchestras

Noah Bartfield (Symphonic)

Camilla Carvalho (Symphonic)

Ronald Chancey (Symphonic)

Jason Donnelly (Symphonic)

Emily Erdman (Symphonic)

Kate Goodin (Symphonic)

Anna Horzen (Symphonic)

Christina Junga (Symphonic)

Molly Kaplan (Symphonic)

Emily Kipp (Symphonic)

Alex Koller (Symphonic)

Hannah Lindvall (Symphonic)

Alex Luna (Symphonic)

Jacob McKey (Symphonic)

Lili Pope (Symphonic)

Colton Potter (Symphonic)

Julia Reprip (Symphonic)

Edwin Rivera (Symphonic)

Jakob Schoenfeld (Symphonic)

Curtis Shugart (Symphonic)

Prayo Smitasin (Symphonic)

Kayla Smith (Philharmonia)

Lauryn Sparger (Symphonic)

Brandon Stacy (Symphonic)

Alexander Vaquerizo (Symphonic)

Timothy Vu (Symphonic)

Dillon Wilson (Symphonic)

KeeJin Yoon (Symphonic)

Brenton Zhang (Symphonic)

*If we missed anyone off this list, PLEASE let us know and we apologize in advance!

**If there are any further accomplishments we don't know about, please let us know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - we'd love to share this with our FSYO family!

Day in the Life featuring - Miya Luebke


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This month we interviewed Prelude cellist , Miya Luebke. 

How long have you been in FSYO? What made you want to join?

As of now, I am going into my 2nd season with the FSYO and currently the assistant principal cellist in the Prelude orchestra. I heard countless positive things about FSYO, and there were numerous reason why I wanted to join. My biggest influence was my violinist friend and fellow member Maggie Yuan who (in a nice way) forced me to audition. Also I really wanted to challenge myself and improve myself as a musician and a person, as well as meet and learn from other fantastic musicians.

What was your favorite memory from FSYO?

I have almost too many favorite memories to count! If i had to choose one though, I would say my first rehearsal. When I walked in, I saw and met so many incredible musicians from all the orchestras, and became deeply inspired to become just as incredible as them one day. Everyone there shows so much passion for music and the works that will be performed, it's absolutely incredible! I made so many friends from just that first day, and hope to play with them until we graduate.

What do you do when you're not rehearsing?

When I'm not doing anything music related, I'm usually acting like some form of nerd. I'm an avid Bob's Burgers and Doctor Who fan, and I try to get as much merchandise as I can. I adore the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series, as well as classic works of literature like Don Quixote and The Odyssey. Literature is something I find very fascinating, and being able to read the mind and creativity of the author is the best. As well as those things, I'm truly fascinated by history, geography, and linguistics, and I even attended the State Level National Geographic Geography Bee in 2014.

What's one thing that you would like to change in the world?

If I could change one thing in this world, I'd get rid of all kinds of prejudice. I'd change the fact that someone's life and value are almost solely based on their race, gender, nationality, sexuality, and other things that cannot be controlled. Sadly, there is so much pressure in our society to be and act the same, or in some cases "perfect". Today's prejudice wouldn't exist if we only accepted our differences, instead of trying to be the same. Music can unify us and help us defeat prejudice, because music is one of the few things that will never believe in prejudice.

FSYO Host 60th Season Opener, featured artist Eric Jacobsen

FSYO to Host 60th Season Opener on October 9th

Featuring Eric Jacobsen, cellist

concert openingORLANDO, FL – On Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 4:00 pm, the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra will dazzle the public with the first concert of their 60th Anniversary season at the historic Bob Carr Theater. Featured guest artist - Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director and remarkable cellist, Eric Jacobsen - will perform Dvorak's Silent Wood and Popper's Hungarian Fantasie accompanied by the FSYO Symphonic Orchestra.

Joining the Central Florida arts community in 2015, Jacobsen has honed his musical skills as a conductor and cellist, nationally and internationally. His style melds the classical with the contemporary in seamless fashion, performing in and directing innovative groups such as The Knights and Brooklyn Rider. Jacobsen has collaborated with such greats as Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Susan Graham at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Ojai Music Festivalin, and on October 9th, he will join us at Bob Carr Theater for his first performance with the FSYO.

This concert will also be the first Season Opener for new FSYO Music Director and Symphonic Orchestra conductor, Hanrich Claassen. When asked about this concert, he said, "The FSYO is a family of some of the most talented and hardworking young orchestra instrumentalists and staff Central Florida has to offer. The artistic team and I have been enthusiastically preparing our four orchestras to inspire and wow audience members at our opening concert. I promise we will not disappoint - it will be a festive celebration of our 60th Season!"

Having performed and conducted internationally, Claassen brings new interpretations and ideas that are helping the students reach new heights as an ensemble. He is also bringing a fresh look to our season programming, which will now feature exciting collaborations and several new concert experiences, including some outdoor performances for the community to enjoy.

Tickets to this concert, and to all 60th season performances, can be purchased on the FSYO website ( and at the door. Ticket prices for this concert range from $10 to $20. This is one that you do not want to miss!

About FSYO: The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra aims to educate and inspire Central Florida's top young musicians through programs committed to strengthening musical talents and developing appreciation of the arts through classical music. The FSYO, in its 60th Concert Season, comprises three full orchestras, one string training orchestra and an advanced chamber ensemble, made up of more than 250 students from nine Central Florida counties, including Orange, Osceola, Lee, Seminole, Brevard, Lake, Highlands and Volusia. 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; and United Arts of Central Florida. We thank these groups for their generous support.

Learn more: web: | FB: Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra | Twitter: @FSYO | IG: @F_S_Y_O | Youtube: @fsyo

cropped Dario Acosta-lightbackgroundAbout Eric Jacobsen: Hailed by The New York Times as "an interpretive dynamo," conductor and cellist ERIC JACOBSEN has built a reputation for engaging audiences with innovative and collaborative projects. Following an international search, Eric Jacobsen was appointed Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2015-2016 Season.

Jacobsen is the co-founder and Music Director of the adventurous orchestra The Knights. As Music Director, Jacobsen has led the "consistently inventive, infectiously engaged indie ensemble" (The New York Times) at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Ojai Music Festival, and international hot spots such as the Dresden Musikfestspiele and Cologne Philharmonie. Recent collaborators include cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Jan Vogler, violinists Itzhak Perlman and Gil Shaham, and singers Dawn Upshaw and Susan Graham.

A dedicated chamber musician, Jacobsen is a member of Yo-Yo Ma's venerated Silk Road Project. He has participated in residencies and performances in Azerbaijan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Switzerland and across the USA including The Art Institute of Chicago and The Hollywood Bowl.

Jacobsen is also a founding member of the genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider, dubbed "one of the wonders of contemporary music" (Los Angeles Times). After 10 years with Brooklyn Rider, Mr. Jacobsen stepped away from the group to focus on his passion for conducting and the orchestra.

As a cellist, Jacobsen has performed with Renee Fleming on David Letterman and at the inaugural concert at Zankel Hall at Carnegie. He has also appeared with The Silk Road Ensemble at the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics in Shanghai. (for more on Eric Jacobsen visit

FSYO Announces New Music Director Hanrich Claassen

Hanrich Claassen

The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra has appointed cellist, conductor, and educator Hanrich Claassen as the new music director and conductor of the Symphonic Orchestra for our upcoming 2016-2017 season.

"I immediately fell in love with the passionate, energetic young musicians' joyous approach to music making and I look forward to exploring a wide variety of repertoire and projects with this vibrant organization. Together with our wonderful artistic and executive team, I am excited to cultivate innovative programs and initiatives to make our organization even more visible and expand the love of music within our community." – Hanrich Claassen

An international performing cellist and pianist, as well as conductor, Mr. Claassen musically began at the University of the Free State in South Africa, earning a Bachelor's in Music with cello and piano. Continuing his cello studies, Claassen obtained a Music Honours degree and his Master's degree in chamber music at the University of Stellenbosch. Mr. Claassen then finished his Teaching Licentiate at the University of South Africa with distinction, and continuing his cello study in 2003 in Portugal.

"We are absolutely delighted to have Mr. Claassen joining the FSYO and very much look forward to his input and vision for the organization. We have no doubt that Hanrich will draw on his diverse musical background to bring new strengths to FSYO and the Symphonic Orchestra. He clearly bonded with the students during rehearsal and I believe the students are looking forward to working with him" – Stephen Schenck, Board President

Mr. Matthew Davis will continue to act as the interim music director and the conductor for the Symphonic Orchestra until the completion of the 2015-2016 season.

ABOUT: The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra aims to educate and inspire Florida's top young musicians through programs committed to strengthening musical talents and developing appreciation of the arts through classical music. The FSYO, in its 59th Concert Season, comprises three full orchestras and one string training orchestra made up of more than 250 students from eight 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; Darden Restaurant Foundation; Universal Orlando Foundation; The Central Florida Foundation and United Arts of Central Florida. The FSYO is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For more information, please visit | | @fsyo (twitter) | @f_s_y_o (instagram) |

About Hanrich Claassen: Hanrich Claassen is a passionate cellist, conductor and educator who believes that a balance between educating and performing music is the key to true artistic enlightenment.

Mr. Claassen obtained his Bachelor of Music in both piano and cello at the University of the Free State in South Africa. He furthered his cello studies at the University of Stellenbosch, where he completed both a Music Honours Degree and his Master's Degree in Chamber Music. Mr. Claassen was awarded the Teacher's Licentiate from the University of South Africa with distinction before furthering his cello studies in Portugal in 2003 at the Escola Superior de Artes Aplicadas.

59th Season Opener Wrap-Up

The 2015-2016 season opener at Bob Carr Theater was a thrill and a testament to the dedication of the members of the FSYO. With our 2015-2016 season well underway, we were delighted to share music with nearly 1,000 people on October 18.

From the cinematic African Adventure, performed by Sarah Morrison and Overture Strings; to the powerful opening of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, -- inspired by American spirituals -- led by Mauricio Cespedes with Prelude; to the sprightly, catchy melodies of Aaron Copland, performed by Michael Simpson and Philharmonia; to the gripping music of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, under the baton of Matthew Davis and our Symphonic Orchestra, there was something for everyone.

Friends and family of our talented young musicians, as well as new audience members, were all impressed by the collaborative spirit of our orchestras and the desire to push their limits to new levels of excellence. The highlight of the evening was a guest appearance by Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Concertmaster Rimma Bergeron-Langlois, who joined our Symphonic Orchestra for a superb performance of the first movement of Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1. 

We thank all parents, friends, family, and music fans for coming down to the Bob Carr to celebrate the love for music that brings together all FSYO members and keeps us going.

Behind the Scenes at FSYO

This year FSYO was honored to utilize Snap! Orlando as a back drop for our annual photo shoot with photographer Tina Craig.

The mission of Snap! Orlando is to boldly increase the visibility and appreciation of the photographic medium as a significant cultural art form. Photography plays a critical role in society as a vehicle for cultural documentation and reflection. Snap! seeks to increase exposure to this highly accessible art form and to broaden the demographic of engaged art enthusiasts within our community.

We feel that Snap! Orlando captures the spirit of community. These photos represent young musicians as they evolve in 2015.

Photos will be displayed in FSYO's 2015-2016 season programs, brochures and on concert posters. Here's a behind the scenes look:

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Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras | (407) 999-7800 |

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 and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.

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Thank you to our 2016-2017 print sponsor, OUC The Reliable One