YOA Orchestra of the Americas
|YOA Orchestra of the Americas|
|Principal conductor||Carlos Miguel Prieto|
Guided by Artistic Advisor Plácido Domingo, YOA Orchestra of the Americas is a world-class symphony orchestra of gifted musical leaders, ages 18 to 30, representing more than 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Founded in 2001 by the New England Conservatory and VISIÓN Inc., YOA Orchestra of the Americas was inspired by the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela (also known as El Sistema). YOA was established by chairman Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg, vice-chairman José Antonio Abreu, and vice-chairman Mark Churchill, together with support from the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, the Organization of American States, and the Inter-American Development Bank. Since its inaugural tour, YOA has performed more than 350 concerts for audiences in more than 30 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The orchestra has reached over 12 million people through television & radio broadcasts, recordings, print, and television - including three feature-length documentary films dedicated to YOA . The orchestra has recorded a number of critically acclaimed and commercially available CDs and DVDs with Plácido Domingo, Gabriela Montero, Philip Glass, among others.
Conductors, Soloists, Teaching Faculty, & Composers-in-Residence
Plácido Domingo serves as YOA's Artistic Advisor and Carlos Miguel Prieto acts as Music Director. Gustavo Dudamel co-led YOA as Principal Conductor from 2003-2010. Guest conductors include Lorin Maazel, Valery Gergiev, Kent Nagano, Leonard Slatkin, Helmuth Rilling, Isaac Karabtchevsky, and José Serebrier. Guest soloists include Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Julian Rachlin, Nelson Freire, Louis Lortie, James Ehnes, Gabriela Montero, Paquito d'Rivera, Antonio Meneses, Matt Haimovitz, Ildar Abdrazakov, Mariachi Vargas, Danilo Perez, Horacio Lavandera, Ilya Gringolts, Philippe Quint, Alex Klein, among others. YOA's instrumental coaching faculty includes members of the world's top orchestras, among them principals of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Boston Symphony, Rome Opera, Brussels Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, as well as academic music institutions of high repute including The Juilliard School, The Curtis Institute of Music, The Colburn School, and Shepherd School of Music. YOA's Head of Faculty since 2006 has been Argentine violinist Leon Spierer who led the Berlin Philharmonic as Concertmaster from 1963 to 1993 under Herbert von Karajan. Composers-in-Residence to work with YOA on tour include Philip Glass (2010), Tan Dun (2013), Arturo Marquez (2014), John Estacio (2009), and Juan Orrego-Salas (2012).
Members & Alumni
Each year 1000+ musicians from 25 countries of the Western Hemisphere compete for 100 seats in YOA Orchestra of the Americas. All accepted participants join YOA for a period of one year on full tuition and travel scholarship. YOA alumni occupy posts in major international orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, OSESP, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico, Charlotte Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Portland Symphony, Boston Philharmonic, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, New World Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Paris Opera, Seoul Philharmonic, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Orchestra London, and others. Many YOA alumni have founded vital musical institutions in their home countries that focus on social transformation and community development. 
Global Leaders Program
YOA's Global Leaders Program was launched in 2012 as an annual year-long leadership training course to help exceptional musicians become leading social entrepreneurs. The Global Leaders program combines unique on-site professional experience in diverse international settings with remote classroom training led by a faculty of pioneers in the fields related to social development through music (including Thomas Südhof, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology). The program works to foster the skills needed to guide successful community-based music programs where leaders act simultaneously as cultural entrepreneurs, mentors, teachers, advocates, performers, administrators, and fundraisers.
YOA has co-founded a number of significant music institutions across the Americas including the national youth orchestras of Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Belize, Jamaica, Haiti, and a number of regional youth orchestras and festivals. These organizations are modeled on YOA's academic principles, open audition platform, leadership training, and commitment to community development.   
YOA is fully registered non-profit charitable organization in the United States, Costa Rica, Canada, Brazil, and Venezuela. YOA head offices are in Arlington, Virginia. The orchestra's audited budget ranges annually from 1.5 to 2.5 million USD.
Artistic Advisory Council
- Reel, James (February 2004). "American Bandstand: The Youth Orchestra of the Americas is a powerful symbol of unity" Strings (subscription required)
- Medrek, T.J. (25 July 2002). "Conductor takes a shine to stars of tomorrow". Boston Herald (subscription required)