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Announcing a new partnership with Sydney Youth Orchestras


Sydney Youth Orchestras (SYO) has partnered with Riverside Theatres and is proud to announce the very first Western Sydney Youth Orchestra (WSYO). This new orchestra brings together the best young musicians from across Western Sydney to rehearse each week at Riverside’s Studio 404 as well as to perform together in a series of concerts to be presented this year and beyond.

After consulting with the community and responding to the needs of young aspirational musicians, WSYO will enhance and complement the already good work undertaken by music teachers and schools in Western Sydney.

As a core part of the SYO orchestral training WSYO will be a classical orchestra focusing on the great works of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. It will be led by highly regarded educator and conductor James Pensini. James rose through the ranks of the SYO family himself on trumpet and is now Head of Brass, Woodwind and Percussion and Head of Bands at St Aloysius’ College, Mosman. He also conducts the SYO’s Symphonic Wind Orchestra.

With almost a quarter of the State’s young people living in Western Sydney, the establishment of WSYO will encourage participation from musicians who might not be able to make it into Sydney’s CBD for rehearsals once a week.

“Young Western Sydney musicians might have been dissuaded from auditioning for SYO because of the distance, so we have decided to bring an orchestra to them,” says SYO CEO Yarmila Alfonzetti. “We have people coming to SYO from far and wide, and we are excited about recognising talent everywhere. SYO’s Strategic Plan includes firm milestones to address the most significant barriers to participation in classical music, and we know one of these is distance.”

The new WYSO is supported by Founding Partners Fort Street Capital with Dixon Advisory, and aims to provide educational opportunities for musicians across Greater Western Sydney. Youth orchestras also create a unique, inspiring environment for young musicians where they can feel free to express what it is they are passionate about, even if that is classical music.

“We have 15-year-old boys hanging around after rehearsals discussing their favourite Mahler symphony or Strauss Tone Poem,” Alfonzetti explained.

SYO began in 1973 with a single orchestra, but in 2017 the organisation will provide weekly orchestral training for musicians aged from 6-25 in 12 ensembles.

“We are dedicated to identifying and nurturing talented young musicians from across greater metropolitan Sydney and beyond,” said Alfonzetti


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