Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras
Founded in 1942, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras (SYSO) is the largest youth orchestra training program in the United States. The organization serves over 1,600 diverse students each year with four full orchestras, three summer festival programs, and extensive partnerships with local public schools. By awarding nearly $200,000 in financial aid annually, SYSO ensures that every talented student can participate in our programs, regardless of financial resources.
SYSO-in-the-Schools supports public school instrumental music programs by providing instruction in 25 Seattle-area public schools serving over 600 students annually.
Marrowstone Summer Festivals provide intensive learning environments for over 500 students age 7 to 25 years each summer.
The Academic-Year Orchestra Program serves over 470 students through four full orchestras.
SYSO also offers three summer music programs. Marrowstone Summer Music, hosted by Western Washington University in Bellingham, serves around 185 high school and college aged students a year with a two-week intensive residential summer program. Faculty members at Marrowstone have included Dale Clevenger and Glenn Dicterow. Two sessions of Marrowstone in the City (MITC) are held in suburbs that surround Seattle, and serve over 330 younger players.
SYSO works with local schools through the Endangered Instruments Program, started by Walter Cole, a project that exposes middle school students to less commonly played instruments like the oboe, bassoon, viola, double bass and French horn. The first of its kind in the United States, the program has been emulated in many other places, including New York City, Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Vancouver, B.C. EIP partners with 13 Seattle-area public schools to serve over 170 students a year.
Through all of its programs, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras serves over 1,100 young musicians each year. Its concerts reach over 14,000, and are replayed over KING-FM to audiences in excess of 200,000.
In November 2008, the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras received a grant of $500,000 from the Wallace foundation.
The Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra, the organization's oldest and most accomplished orchestra, has a long history. For its first two years, it was called the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Seattle. From 1944 to 1963, it was the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Pacific Northwest. Vilem Sokol led the orchestra for 28 years (1960-1988), and it was under him that the YSO gave the fourth performance of Gustav Mahler's Tenth Symphony - after the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. Under conductor Sokol, the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra made two recordings of Mahler's Tenth Symphony.
Today, SYSO is led by Dr, Stephen Rogers Radcliffe who joined as Music Director in 2006 and by Daniel Petersen who serves as Executive Director.
Dr. Radcliffe continues to fulfill the promise recognized when he made his Lincoln Center conducting debut with Metropolitan Opera sopranos Jan DeGaetani, Susan Graham and Dawn Upshaw. Since then Mr. Radcliffe has conducted orchestras on four continents, produced compact disc recordings of operatic, orchestral, and chamber music works, and has fostered the development of audiences through innovative educational and artistic programs. An Assistant Conductor of the Boston Lyric Opera, Radcliffe was Founder and Music Director of the New York Chamber Ensemble - performing for over a decade at Lincoln Center, Artistic Director of the Cape May Music Festival, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Hungarian Virtuosi, which he led in international touring, television and radio broadcast performances and recording projects. Stephen Rogers Radcliffe served as the Director of Orchestral and Operatic Activities at the University of Massachusetts and Music Director of the Five College Opera Project. Mr. Radcliffe holds a degree in Music Education from the New England Conservatory and has led youth orchestra programs throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. He holds a Masters Degree in conducting from the University of Michigan and has studied at the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Centers as well as at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna. Mr. Radcliffe has served as the Harry and Mildred Bemis Endowed Fellow at Brandeis University. His principal teachers include Gustav Meier, Leonard Bernstein and Franco Ferrara.
Daniel Petersen brings a comprehensive and extensive arts management background to SYSO. Former manager of Orchestra Seattle/ Seattle Chamber Singers, Mr. Petersen was also Executive Director of the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, and manager of the Distinguished Artists Series at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as co-founder of the Choral Alliance of Philadelphia. Besides his classical music background Mr. Petersen has been manager of a Shakespearean theater company and booking and tour contractor for a rock, folk and jazz club outside Chicago. Currently he serves on the Youth Orchestra Division Board of the American Symphony Orchestra League. He can be heard twice a week on the radio as producer and guest host of "The Historic Recordings Hour" and "The Grand Tradition; Singers of the Golden Age" on Classic KING FM, 98.1.
Notes and references
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