American Russian Young Artists Orchestra

The American Russian Young Artists Orchestra (ARYO), founded in 1987 as the American Soviet Youth Orchestra, was a philanthropic and diplomatic training orchestra for young musicians, vocalists and conductors from the United States and the former Soviet Union, primarily Russia.

American Russian Young Artists Orchestra
Short nameARYO
Former nameAmerican Soviet Youth Orchestra, American Russian Youth Orchestra
LocationNew York, United States

The organization held annual open auditions across both countries for "highly talented Russian and American musicians and vocalists, ages 17-25," gathering them "for an intensive three-week rehearsal period under the direction of leading Russian and American conductors," including "language training, cross-cultural orientation and homestays" prior to an annual summertime world tour.[1]

During its sixteen-year run, the orchestra performed at over 50 concert venues in Washington, New York, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Vienna, Milan, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Ulianovsk, Samara, Kaliningrad, Yerevan, Tolyatti, Tallinn, Riga, and Yurmala.[2][3][4] In several cities, ARYO included the first westerners to perform in decades, owing to restrictions on cultural exchange for much of the Soviet period. Notable appearances also included free concerts at venues such as the United States Capitol West Lawn, the Mann Music Center, Mizner Park in Boca Raton, New York's World Financial Center, and the Hollywood Bowl.[1]

From its inception to its disbanding, ARYO was led by a board of directors including Henry Luce III and honorarily co-chaired by the first ladies of the respective named countries (initially Nancy Reagan and Raisa Gorbacheva and ultimately Laura Bush and Lyudmila Putina).[3][5]

History edit

The American Soviet Youth Orchestra was founded at Oberlin College in 1987 by Moscow State Conservatory director Boris Kulikov, Oberlin President S. Frederick Starr, and diplomats Grace Kennan Warnecke and Edythe Holbrook as part of a surge in Soviet-American cultural exchanges following the loosening of Cold War tensions during the period.[1][2][5][6][7][8] Their first performance was on August 5, 1988 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., conducted by Zubin Mehta.[8][9] The organization soon became a full-fledged year-round operation including chamber tours, residencies, and extensive community outreach programs in leading venues around the globe.[5]

In 1992, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, the organization regrouped as the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra (ARYO) with Holbrook as executive director.

In 1997, First Ladies Hillary Clinton and Naina Yeltsina joined ARYO in Yekaterinburg, Russia for their only appearance together without their spouse presidents.[1]

In 1998 the orchestra expanded to include a chamber orchestra which participated in the World Youth Music Forum at the invitation of the Russian Ministry of Culture and Moscow Mayor Yuri M. Luzhkov. There ARYO joined nine other youth orchestras representing every continent to form a thousand-member "Orchestra of the World," which presented a concert in Red Square.[5] ARYO also played the 1998 Moscow Youth Olympics.[1]

In 1999 ARYO embarked on a world tour they called "Millennium Muzik," during which they visited twelve cities across the United States, Russia, and Central Europe. They performed works by Szymanowski, Duke Ellington, Stravinsky, Barber, and Rachmaninoff, joining the Kirov Orchestra In St. Petersburg, Russia. Baseball Hall of Fame member Tom Seaver emceed their gala benefit at Alice Tully Hall in New York City.[5]

In 2001, ARYO became affiliated with Bard College and came under the musical direction of its president, Leon Botstein.[2][5][7]

In 2002 Holbrook retired and Christine Loomis took the helm as executive director, and ARYO launched a trio known as the Amirus players.[7][10] That summer during its annual world tour, ARYO performed in Asheville, North Carolina for the first time, with an ensemble that included two performers from Ashevile's sister city Vladikavkaz.[2][4]

Notable conductors edit

Alumni edit

ARYO alumni can be found in the world's leading musical organizations, including the New World Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Ural Philharmonic, the Novosibirsk Symphony, the Bolshoi Orchestra, the Kirov Orchestra, and the United States Marine Corps Band. Others have pursued careers in international relations.[1]

Notable alumni edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "The American Russian Youth Orchestra (ARYO)". Friends & Partners.Org. 1998. Archived from the original on 10 February 2021. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Instruments of change". Asheville Mountain Express. June 12, 2002. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b "ARYO TO GIVE CONCERTS IN YEREVAN". Armenpress. June 19, 2002. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d "American Russian Young Artists Orchestra World Tour 2002". The Journey Zone. June 23, 2002. Archived from the original on 26 January 2020. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "AMERICAN RUSSIAN YOUNG ARTISTS ORCHESTRA OPENS AMERICAN TOUR WITH SPECIAL CONCERT AT BARD COLLEGE ON MONDAY, JUNE 14, AT 7 P.M." Bard College. March 2, 2001. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Soviet Musicologist Set for Exchanges". The New York Times. February 15, 1988. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Main events". 15 Minutes Magazine. December 2002. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d "U.S. and Soviet Youths Proselytize With Music". The New York Times. August 7, 1988. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Washington Talk: Briefing; U.S.-Soviet Harmony". The New York Times. July 26, 1988. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d "15th Anniversary of the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra (ARYO) "Dacha on the Green"". Patrick McMullan Company. December 2, 2002. Retrieved 28 December 2020.