The Pro Youth Philharmonia (PYP) launches its inaugural tour on 13-15 April. Brainchild of acclaimed charismatic international flautist Wissam Boustany, PYP will offer audiences a chance to experience the unique concept of a training orchestra for emerging young professional musicians aged 22 to 32. The inaugural three-city tour will feature repertoire that will challenge and inspire the musicians and their audiences, opening with James MacMillan’s arrestingly dark memorial to Isobel Gowdie, followed by Sergei Prokofiev’s hypnotic and mischievous Violin Concerto No 2 and ending with Béla Bartók’s titanic virtuosic orchestral showpiece, the Concerto for Orchestra, which showcases individual instruments within the orchestra.
Boustany will be joined by a team of prominent musicians who will mentor this first tour. Stephanie Gonley, leader of the English Chamber Orchestra, will combine her role as soloist with coaching the strings. Pre-eminent horn player Jonathan Williams will work with the brass, and the inspiring flautist and pedagogue Anna Noakes will be the orchestra’s woodwind mentor.
Central to PYP’s mission is Boustany’s Method Called Love, which lies at the heart of the orchestra’s reason for existence, providing the nucleus for training young musicians, inspiring audiences and an extensive educational outreach programme, teaching children how to integrate love on their journey through life. PYP’s dynamic educational outreach projects will include Art/Poetry Competitions, in which the winning painting is used as artwork for PYP’s concert posters and the winning poem is read in concerts. There will also be an Emerging Musician Programme for a very promising A-level instrumentalist to join PYP for rehearsals and a concert.
Three times per year, tours comprising three concerts around the UK will be preceded by residencies in conjunction with various educational institutions, including coaching and mentoring with soloists and professionals from leading orchestras, inspirational workshops, discussions and improvisation sessions. Unlike some other similar orchestras, PYP will not require its members to put aside large chunks of time to participate in its activities; it will operate during college holiday periods, affording busy students and young professional musicians the flexibility to rehearse and tour, while maintaining their ongoing commitments.
Boustany’s experiences as a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra and principal flute of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under the late Claudio Abbado left a deep influence and has inspired him to work closely with enthusiastic young musicians. With the imminent departure of the EUYO from London because of Brexit, UK students who used to account for a substantial number of their players might no longer be eligible to apply after this year.
The Pro Youth Philharmonia, with its unique Method, will provide aspiring young musicians with opportunities to hone their skills and fulfil their professional goals, creating a culture of empowerment that will have a ripple effect on UK audiences and beyond.
Cadogan Hall, London Friday 13 April 2018, 7.30pm
Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, Saturday 14 April, 7:30pm
Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunday 15 April. 3pm