Once again January is the month of the Bay Area Youth Orchestra Festival. Over 500 young musicians from throughout the Bay Area will come together to perform on the stage of Davies Symphony Hall with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO) serving as the host institution. In 2016 the orchestras that will join the SFSYO will be the El Camino Youth Symphony from Palo Alto, the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra from Berkeley.
The format of the concert will be the same as it has been in the past. Members from all five orchestras will join forces for the final work on the program. Next month that composition will be the “Jupiter” movement from Gustav Holst’s Opus 32 suite, The Planets. The entire ensemble will be conducted by Alasdair Neale, Music Director of the Marin Symphony.
This grand finale will be preceded by presentations by each of the contributing orchestras. Jindong Cai will begin the program, leading the El Camino Youth Symphony in a performance of Tan Dun’s 2015 passacaglia, “Secret of Wind and Birds.” Ann Krinitsky will conduct the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra in the final (fourth) movement of Antonín Dvořák’s Opus 88 symphony in G major (the eighth by the current counting system). The Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra will then perform two excepts from Sergei Prokofiev’s Opus 64 score for the ballet Romeo and Juliet. Omid Zoufonoun will lead them in “The Montagues and the Capulets,” followed by “The Death of Tybalt.” The Young People’s Symphony Orchestra will perform music by the youngest composer on the program, “Marine Safari and Whale Watch” by Jeremy Cavaterra, currently Composer-In-Residence of The Salastina Music Society in Pasadena. David Ramadanoff will also conduct their performance of the “Nimrod” variation from Edward Elgar’s “Enigma” set of orchestral variations, his Opus 36. As usual SFSYO will finish off this portion of the program, led by Donato Cabrera in a performance of the orchestral version of Maurice Ravel’s “Alborado del gracioso.”
The Bay Area Youth Orchestra Festival will take place in Davies at 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 17. Tickets are $70 for reserved seating and $25 for general admission, with half-price in the general section for those 17 and under. Tickets may be purchased from an event page on the San Francisco Symphony Web site, at the Davies Box Office on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street, or by calling 415-864-6000.