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New Jersey Youth Symphony Awarded First Place in International Music Festival in Vienna

The NJYS Youth Symphony, the top ensemble among New Jersey Youth Symphony’s ( fourteen ensembles, was awarded first place in the orchestral division of the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival and Competition in Vienna on Sunday, July 6. NJYS joined 32 other ensembles from around the world for the Festival, held July 4 through 8, and shares the first place award with the Westlake Symphony Orchestra of Auckland, New Zealand. NJYS was one of only three U.S. ensembles to travel to Austria for the Festival and the only ensemble representing the state of New Jersey.


Now in its eighth year, the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival has become one of the most prestigious youth festivals in the world, bringing together the very best youth orchestras, choirs and bands from 13 countries and five continents for five days of fabulous music-making in Vienna. While at the Festival the NJYS Youth Symphony not only participated in Summa Cum Laude Festival’s prestigious competition held in the famed Golden Hall of the Musikverein, but also attended interactive orchestral workshops conducted by members of the Festival’s orchestra jury at the University of Music in Vienna.

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Youth Symphony has never sounded as good as it did in the beautiful Musikverein concert hall for the Summa Cum Laude Festival Competition. The orchestra played with such energy and a warm, vibrant sound that exceeded their already high level of musicianship. It was a fabulous experience for our students, and the competition was tough. New Jersey should be very proud,” says NJYS Executive Director Karen Deschere.


The NJYS Youth Symphony will perform in the 2014 Gala Winners’ Concert at the Great Hall of the Wiener Konzerthaus on Tuesday, July 8, followed by an awards ceremony and reception held at Vienna’s Hofburg Imperial Palace which houses the office of the President of Austria and where the Vienna Boys’ Choir performs during High Mass on Sundays.


“This tour is important not just for the students of NJYS, but for the entire state of New Jersey. It’s an opportunity to showcase our talented youth on the international stage, many of whom have already received accolades on the state and national level, and reward their dedication and commitment to excellence by allowing them the experience of being ambassadors of goodwill through the arts. Not to mention that it’s the fulfilment of a once-in-a-lifetime dream for many of our young musicians to perform at one of the greatest concert halls in the world, Vienna’s Musikverein,” says NJYS Artistic Director Jeffrey Grogan.


In addition to performing at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival, NJYS’s 2014 European tour includes performances in Salzburg, Pottsching, Prague, and at MuTh, Vienna’s new venue for music and theatre built for the Vienna Boys’ Choir in 2012.


The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) has been providing inspiring experiences to young musicians since 1979. The program, known for its high standard of excellence throughout the United States and internationally, is the orchestral affiliate of the Wharton Music Center and offers a tiered family of orchestras and ensembles led by distinguished conductors and coaches. The most advanced of NJYS’s ensembles is the Youth Symphony, comprised of nearly 100 highly talented students ranging in age from 15 to 18 hailing from eight counties. Youth Symphony appeared at Carnegie Hall in 2013 and the Musikverein, home to the Vienna Philharmonic, in 2012. Youth Symphony can be heard on the OMAC label performing Mark O’Connor’s March of the Gypsy Fiddler with the Ahn Trio.


Located in Berkeley Heights and New Providence, New Jersey, Wharton Music Center and New Jersey Youth Symphony serve students from thirteen counties. For additional information about our community programs and class offerings visit our website and or call 908-790-0700.

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