More and more youth orchestras are touring, taking their message of youthful music-making to audiences everywhere. Why are they doing it, what do they hope these tours will accomplish for their young musicians, and what might these tours represent as cultural diplomacy? And what’s life like on the road with an orchestra of young musicians, anyway?
by Steven Brown
The smiles say it all: Musicians of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras take to the skies for their summer 2018 visit to Germany.
hen the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra flew to Europe this June, its ranks included some veteran travelers. But for a few members of the Pittsburgh-based ensemble, the journey to Vienna, Budapest, and Prague marked their first trip outside the United States—or even their first airplane flights. In Vienna, some of the budding musicians visited Schönbrunn Palace, onetime home of Empress Maria Theresa. Lindsey Nova, the youth orchestra’s executive director, shepherded one group as they reached the Mirrors Room—the glittering chamber where the young Mozart once played for the court. The story goes that when the six-year-old prodigy finished, he jumped onto the empress’s lap and gave her a kiss. As the young Pittsburgh musicians listened to this tale on their audio guides, Nova stood near one of the firsttime world travelers. “I’m watching her as she hears this story, and her eyes get bigger and bigger,” Nova says. “And then she looks down at the ground. I asked her symphony