By Natasha Anderson
The Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra (ASYO) is gearing up for an exciting new season with an expanded program, visiting artist Triton Brass and concerts at three venues. The organization, which has doubled in size for each of the past three years, now serves nearly 200 of the area’s best young musicians and consists of four orchestras in addition to woodwind, brass, percussion and chamber music ensembles.
“The program is thriving because of the strong support of community partners and individuals who believe in what we are doing and because of the relationships we have worked hard to cultivate with them,” says ASYO operations manager Cara Jenkins. “Those relationships include Buncombe County Schools, Asheville City Schools, our area private and public school teachers, Brevard Music Center and the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra.”
ASYO musicians participate in masterclasses, retreats, workshops, tours, social events and performances. They also receive music instruction from some of the region’s most respected professional conductors and musicians, including Asheville Symphony musicians who run sectionals with all four youth orchestras. Additionally, six ASYO students were selected this year to attend Brevard Music Center as scholars.
“Brevard is second to none in terms of the incredible performances, teaching and other opportunities they have to offer students each summer,” says Jenkins.
After the success of last year’s residency with renowned violinist Midori during the Asheville Amadeus Festival, ASYO and community schools are looking forward to this season’s residency with Triton Brass. A visit from the esteemed Boston-based quintet will include a school tour, a brass workshop day for all brass players in Buncombe County schools and Asheville City schools, and a concert with ASYO at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium the weekend of February 24–25.
“The Midori visit this past spring was the highlight of the 2016–2017 school year,” says Robert Waller, cultural arts/AIG specialist for Buncombe County Schools. “We have so many opportunities that our students can be a part of due to our relationship with ASYO. I hope that we maintain this forward momentum in the coming years as we continue to build and support our students who are interested in playing in the orchestras.”
In addition to the February concert, ASYO will perform on Wednesday, November 1, at 7 p.m. at Diana Wortham Theatre and on Tuesday, May 15, at 7 p.m. at the Asheville High School Auditorium.
For more information about ASYO, including how to audition and how to purchase tickets for ASYO performances, visit ashevillesymphony.org.