Arts & Entertainment

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

e1669899b100083764c1_Before_the_reception_dinner_at_the_Hofburg_Imperial_Palace.jpg
New Jersey Youth Symphony before the reception dinner at the Hofburg Imperial Palace
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Mr. Jeffrey Grogan, the conductor of YS, shaking hands with Alex Wang, the concertmaster Credits: Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival
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SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The NJYS Youth Symphony, top among the New Jersey Youth Symphony’s (www.njys.org) ensembles, was awarded first place in the orchestral division of the prestigious Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Competition, in Vienna, on Sunday, July 6th.

The 1,600 participants from 13 countries and five continents competed in the famous Golden Hall of the Musikverein, the home of Vienna Philharmonic. Youth Symphony performed in the 2014 Gala Winners’ Concert at the Great Hall of the Wiener Konzerthaus on July 8th, followed by an awards ceremony and reception dinner held at Vienna’s Hofburg Imperial Palace, which houses the office of the President of Austria.  NJYS’s 2014 European tour included performances in venues in Vienna, Pöttsching, and Prague such as MuTh, Vienna’s new venue for music and theatre built for the Vienna Boys’ Choir in 2012. 

"One of the pieces the competition required us to play was the finale of Beethoven's First Symphony," says Alex Wang, oncertmaster of NJYS's Youth Symphony, who attends the Union County Magnet School.  “The piece is challenging for the strings, the first violin section in particular. We were pleased with the outcome.”

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“Music teaches us to be consummate and continual learners,” continued Wang.  “Our international award was also a testimony to our teamwork, dedication, and collaboration.  After playing music and spending countless hours with each other since third grade, we have become a family. NJYS has become my home where I have grown musically as well as personally.  I am so happy and proud that we brought the award back to New Jersey and the U.S.”

Wang is a certified EMT who volunteers at the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad as well as a competitive swimmer who has been a member of the Scotch Plains Fanwood YMCA Swim Team since age 10. 

The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) has provided inspiring experiences to young musicians since 1979. The program, known for its high standard of excellence throughout the U.S. 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 Youth Symphony, comprised of nearly one hundred highly talented students of ages 15 to 18 hailing from eight counties. Youth Symphony appeared in Carnegie Hall in 2013 and in the Musikverein, the home of the Vienna Philharmonic, in 2012 and 2014. Youth Symphony can be heard on the OMAC label performing Mark O’Connor’s March of the Gypsy Fiddler with the Ahn Trio.

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