Inspired by the movement of orchestras for social change across the Western Hemisphere, YOA was launched in 2001 as a joint initiative of VISION Inc (led by Hilda-Ochoa Brillembourg) and the New England Conservatory (NEC), in collaboration with the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and FESNOJIV (Venezuela). Since its inaugural tour, the orchestra has performed in more than 30 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia, reaching 12 million people. YOA has been the first symphonic ensemble to perform in a number of countries and regions, and is the subject of three feature length documentary films.
YOA is much more than a world-class orchestra. It transforms the lives of youth and families in underserved communities. It inspires business and government leaders to invest in music education. It capacitates grassroots initiatives across the Western Hemisphere, and forms partnerships to launch projects where they do not yet exist. It fosters the development of musical leaders from all corners of the Americas committed to transforming the world as teaching artists and social entrepreneurs. It connects new generations of musicians with the greatest artists of our time: Plácido Domingo, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Valery Gergiev, James Ehnes, Kent Nagano, Vadim Repin, and Leonard Slatkin, to name just a few guest artists.
YOA performs in the world’s most prestigious concert spaces – from the Oriental Arts Centre Shanghai to Saint Peter’s Basilica Vatican, from Symphony Center Chicago to Teatro Teresa Carreño Caracas, from Teatro Colón Buenos Aires to Konzerthaus Berlin, from Palacio de Bellas Artes Mexico to Philharmonie im Gasteig Munich, from Snap Maltings Concert Hall Aldeburgh to The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and WolfTrap National Park for the Performing Art in Washington DC, among many others. YOA also brings symphonic music to new corners of the world – from the favelas of Brazil to hockey arenas in rural Canada, from Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti to Paramaribo, Suriname, from the Amazon to Easter Island.
Vision, Inc., an initiative of Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg, is dedicated to the promotion of Latin American arts and culture, and exchanges between Latin and non-Latin cultures.
A cultural icon approaching its 150th anniversary and the oldest independent school of music in the United States, New England Conservatory (NEC) is recognized worldwide as a leader among music schools. The college program instructs 750 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world, and has a faculty of 225 artist-teachers and scholars. NEC Preparatory School of 1,500 students and almost 300 faculty members prides itself on preserving a community music school’s open access while maintaining a rigorous conservatory’s commitment to artistic excellence at all stages of musical training.
YOA has co-founded a number of significant music institutions across the Americas committed to community development through music.
Fundación Bolívar Davivienda, in alliance with YOA Orchestra of the Americas and Fundación Nacional Batuta, in 2010 created Filarmónica Joven de Colombia (FJC), the first national youth orchestra in the history of Colombia. Underwritten by Fundación Bolivar Davivienda, annually FJC selects the top 100 Colombian musicians to train with an international faculty of world-class instrumental coaches and participate in international concert tours to represent the talent of Colombia.
YOA CANADA supports Canadian youth who devote their energy, talent and discipline to music. These young men and women share the common dream of bringing music to the world. YOA Canada holds internet-based auditions to select Canada’s most exceptional young orchestral musicians to participate each year on full scholarship in YOA Orchestra of the Americas.
In January 2012, YOA launched Filarmónica Jóven de la Juventud Hondureña, a pan-national youth orchestra comprised of the most deserving and talented young Hondurans. Annually since 2012, the orchestra has selected 90 Honduran musicians to represent their country in a two-week training Residence followed by a series of concerts. Members participate in daily sectionals, master classes, individual lessons, and full orchestra rehearsals, supplemented by chamber instruction and performance experience.
In 2012, Fundación Sinfonía launched Joven Filarmónica de la República Dominicana (JFRD) with the support of YOA Orchestra of the Americas and Fundación Batuta of Colombia. Joven Filarmónica de la República Dominicana is an inclusive pan-Dominican youth orchestra open to all young people from across the island. In the spirit of ensuring fairness, all musicians participate on full scholarship, with selection adjudicated by international teaching faculty.
Launched in 2009 with support from founding partner YOA Orchestra of the Americas, the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica (NYOJ) has become an emblem of social transformation in the Caribbean, with thriving centers throughout Kingston’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods and beyond. In 2014, NYOJ hosted the full YOA orchestra for a historic 5 day visit to the island that included side-by-side performances.
Launched in 2014 by Belize’s National Institute of History and Culture (NICH) in collaboration with YOA Orchestra of the Americas, the National Youth Orchestra and Choir of Belize (NYOCB) works to foster the social development of Belizean youth through orchestral training of the highest caliber and to celebrate the achievements of Belizean youth in high impact performances across national and international settings. The vision of the National Youth Orchestra of Belize is to promote widespread positive transformation within Belizean society by providing young people with resources that enable them to contribute to their communities as impassioned, skilled, and responsible citizens, both musically and extra-musically.