To take part in its Southern Cone Reunion Tour, YOA Orchestra of the Americas has received 5,000 registrations and 1,500 auditions from musicians in 27 countries. For those who get in, their lives will never be the same.

The 15-concert Nordic-Baltic Legacy Tour promotes cross-cultural exchange among 80 exceptional young musicians from 26 countries of the Americas, and the community of Nordic and Baltic nations. Throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, YOA musicians demonstrate the Americas-led movement of orchestral training for social development, embodying their roles as youth leaders through interactive performances and workshops.



Gabriela Montero’s most recent release, featuring YOA Orchestra of the Americas and Carlos Miguel Prieto, is an emphatic demonstration of the “total” artist as pianist, composer, and improviser and features Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2, Montero’s own “Ex Patria,” and three free-form improvisations. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “triumphant,” the recording earned Montero and YOA Orchestra of the Americas a Grammy® Award for “Best Classical Album” at the 2015 Latin Grammy Awards®.

philip glass

Philip Glass is unquestionably among the most innovative and influential composers of the 20th century. In this collaborative recording with YOA Orchestra of the Americas and Dante Anzolini, postmodern music’s most celebrated and high-profile proponent, his myriad orchestral works, operas, film scores, and dance pieces proved essential to the development of ambient and new age sounds, and his fusions of Western and world musics were among the earliest and most successful global experiments of their kind.

shosty 7

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 60 (Leningrad) featuring YOA Orchestra of the Americas and Carlos Miguel Prieto, Conductor. Recording location: Live in concert at Teatro Nacional E. Brito, Dominican Republic, 14 July 2014. Mark Gillespie, Executive Producer; Gerardo Tornero, Recording Producer; Ricardo Quintero, Balance Engineer; Felipe García, Assistant Engineer; Petrushka Saenz, Album Design.



Explore YOA Orchestra of the Americas’ 15-season concert history here.



YOA Orchestra of the Americas returned to South America in July and August 2017, in celebration of the Southern Cone nations of Chile, Argentina, and Brazil as leaders in the movement of orchestras for social transformation. This historic tour began with a two-week Residence at Chile’s iconic Teatro del Lago in the town of Frutillar on Lake Llanquihue. In the inspiring natural setting of the Los Lagos Region, and with access to one of Latin America’s top acoustic theaters, 80 top musicians from across the Americas trained with YOA Music Director Carlos Miguel Prieto of Mexico, supported by a Faculty of 18 of the world’s top coaches representing the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, among many other respected global institutions. In addition to artistic mentorship, YOA musicians received leadership, civic, and social entrepreneurship training on site through community engagement activities and workshops that benefited the local community. The Residence culminated with two concerts featuring acclaimed Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero, renowned French cellist Gautier Capuçon, and rising Chilean mezzo-soprano Evelyn Ramírez. The Orchestra led the world premiere of Guerrero Andino by Peruvian Composer-in-Residence Juan Chuquisengo. The Residence also included a two-day commercial recording project with Montero, whose 2015 release with YOA won a Latin Grammy Award. Following Chile, the orchestra traveled on tour through Argentina and Brazil. Argentina highlights included performances in Rosario with Canadian guest soloist Blake Pouliot, as well as at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires with Chilean mezzo-soprano María Luisa Merino. In Brazil, the orchestra gave three concerts in São Paulo. Two concerts featured American violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg at the iconic Sala São Paulo, as well as Brazilian mezzo-soprano Nathália Serrano, while the third performance was an outdoor show at Auditório Ibirapuera. The orchestra next traveled to Rio de Janeiro to perform at Theatro Municpal with Salerno-Sonnenberg. The Southern Cone Reunion Tour concluded with a finale performance in Ilhabela’s Teatro de Vermelhos featuring celebrated Brazilian pianist Ricardo Castro.



The 15-concert 2016 Nordic-Baltic Legacy Tour promoted cross-cultural exchange among 80 exceptional young musicians from 26 countries of the Americas, and the community of Nordic and Baltic nations. Throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, YOA musicians demonstrated the Americas-led movement of orchestral training for social development, embodying their roles as youth leaders through interactive performances and workshops. Involving the participation of outstanding members and alumni from the renowned Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, participants gained insight into first-hand Nordic and Baltic leadership and legacies, ranging from gender equality to environmental consciousness. As part of a commitment to social inclusion, the Tour involved local music camps and worked with refugee communities, among other engagement activities. Through the Nordic-Baltic Tour, the capacity of YOA musicians as artistic leaders and citizen-musicians was enhanced, empowering participants to bring the best models from the region back to their home communities across the Americas.



YOA’s Pan American Tour highlighted youth leadership, cultural exchange, and social development during a month of concerts and community engagement across Eastern Canada. By special invitation from the Pan American Games, YOA Orchestra of the Americas served as a headlining cultural participant of the 2015 Games in Toronto. Through a partnership with Orchestre de la Francophonie (OF), involving the addition of French-speaking musicians from around the world, the Pan American Tour showcased the unique voice of Francophone culture in the Americas. In celebration of Canada’s growing movement of orchestras for social change, the 2015 Residency Partner of YOA’s Pan American Tour was the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra (NYBO) and its Sistema New Brunswick program. Centered in the city of Moncton, the Residence drew attention to the achievements made to the youth in the region by this leading music institution, in partnership with the Premier of New Brunswick. In addition to concerts across New Brunswick, the 80-member orchestra led a concert Tour throughout Quebec and Ontario with acclaimed guest artists Vadim Repin, Antonio Meneses, Alain Lefèvre, Ingrid Fliter, Alexandre Da Costa, Serhiy Salov, Hugo Laporte, Ricardo Castro, Stéphane Tétrault, José Serebrier, Jean-François Rivest, and Antonio Delgado. Repertoire included Shostakovich Symphony No. 11, Dvorak Symphony No. 9, Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet, as well as works by Composer-in-Residence Nicolas Gilbert, and a historic performance with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. The 2015 Tour was made possible in part by the support of YOA Canada, which works to promote and underwrite the orchestra’s presence in Canada, as well as the participation of Canadian musicians and guest artists.



In the spirit of regional development and commitment to underserved communities across the Americas, 2014 marked YOA’s yearlong celebration of the Caribbean. A culturally vibrant collection of island nations, the Caribbean has in recent years supported the establishment of a number of critical youth orchestra initiatives focused on empowering young people through musical training. Each territory of the Caribbean has contributed to the hemispheric narrative of community building and social development through music with distinctive programs reflecting unique cultures, contexts, and needs. In 2014, YOA bridged the azure waters that separate these projects through a series of pan-regional development missions, culminating in YOA’s 2014 Caribbean Tour. The Tour – involving the participation of more than 1,000 local musicians – showcased Caribbean voices as a vital contributor to the Americas, paving the way towards deeper regional ties, understanding, and integration between the Caribbean and the Americas as a whole.



In honor of the 500th Anniversary of Vasco Núñez de Balboa’s first sighting of the Pacific Ocean, YOA Orchestra of the Americas’ 2013 Tour celebrated Central America’s legacy of global and regional connections by touring Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Belize.




Annual Partners enhance the impact of YOA and opportunities offered to musicians.


Orchestre de la Francophonie (OF) prepares young musicians, who have graduated from the world’s foremost institutions, for their future career in orchestras of national and international reputation. Three objectives are central to the Orchestra: learn, innovate and share. Collaborators since 2013, in 2015 YOA and OF joined forces in a historic 8-week tour partnership of Eastern Canada involving a jointly selected orchestra of top musicians from 25 countries.


The Orford Arts Centre and Academy (OAC) is among North America’s foremost summer centers for musical training. In 2015, YOA and OAC launched a partnership designed to strengthen international platforms for OAC participants, while enhancing opportunities in Canada for members of the YOA network.


NICH Belize, an initiative of the Government of Belize, is dedicated to the promotion of Belizean history, arts, and culture. Since the founding of the National Youth Orchestra of Belize in 2013, NICH Belize has underwritten a partial scholarship for one representative of this organization to join YOA in its international Residences & Tours.


Since 2013, Sistema New Brunswick has annually underwritten a partial scholarship for at least one Sistema NB Teaching Artist to join YOA in its international Residences & Tours. The mission of Sistema NB is to promote the collective practice of music through symphony orchestras in order to inspire children and youth to achieve their full potential and to acquire values that favor their growth and have a positive impact on their lives and society.


Bridging the gap between conservatoires and professional life, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme offers unique development and performance opportunities in the inspiring setting of the east coast of England. Each year, groups of YOA musicians and Global Leaders are selected to represent the Americas within the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme.


One of the world’s leading conservatories, Curtis is highly selective, with an enrollment of about 165. Since 2013, the Curtis Institute of Music Concertmaster has served annually as Concertmaster of YOA Orchestra of the Americas. This unique scholarship allows a young musician at the helm of one of the world’s top conservatories the opportunity to develop leadership skills on tour with YOA in international settings.


To promote culture and support artistic and social development in Colombia, Fundación Bolivar Davivienda created the Filarmónica Joven de Colombia (FJC) in 2010 in partnership with Fundación Nacional Batuta and YOA Orchestra of the Americas. Inspired by the model of YOA, FJC is an unprecedented initiative within Colombia and has quickly become a national cultural symbol of Colombia around the world.


Since 2010, YOA Orchestra of the Americas and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, under the leadership of Architect Toshiko Mori, have worked on the development of a Portable Acoustic Concert Structure. Following extensive work by Harvard researchers, in collaboration with YOA, preliminary on-site testing of the Portable Concert Structure – ParAcoustica – began in 2013. The project has been presented at a variety of conferences, including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


YOA Orchestra of the Americas is co-founder and a principal partner of Joven Filarmónica de la República Dominicana, a project led by Fundación Sinfonía. This orchestra holds annual auditions to select the most talented and deserving musicians from across the Dominican Republic, ages 15 to 30. The orchestra provides participants access on full scholarship to intensive training residences and professional concert experience working with musicians, coaches, conductors, and soloists of the highest caliber.


Launched in 2009 with support from a group of founding partners including YOA Orchestra of the Americas, the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica has become an emblem of social transformation in the Caribbean, with thriving centers throughout Kingston’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods and beyond. Each year in Jamaica, YOA musicians mentor NYOJ youth in preparation for a joint side-by-side community concert. Annually, at least one musician from NYOJ is provided with a full scholarship to participate in YOA.

NYO Jamaica

The Nuclei of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of the State of Bahia (Neojibá) is an unprecedented initiative in Brazil of government policy aimed at integrating children and young people irrespective of social class by training them in orchestral and choral music making up to the highest possible standard. Since 2008, musicians, alumni, and faculty from YOA Orchestra of the Americas have served as coaches at Neojibá and contributed to the development of the program. Musicians from Neojibá have also been included in every major YOA tour.


The Organization of American States’ Orchestra Program in the Caribbean (OASIS) contributes through musical study to the reduction of risk factors that result in violent behavior among youths. The program redirects children and youths’ spare time to an activity that takes advantage of their inherent strengths and talents via a systematic orchestral and choral training program five days a week, two hours a day. Beginning in 2010, musicians and alumni from YOA Orchestra of the Americas, together with colleagues from Batuta (Colombia) and El Sistema (Venezuela), have helped to establish and guide OASIS training programs in Haiti, Saint Lucia, and Jamaica.


L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM) and YOA Orchestra of the Americas partnered in 2011 to promote the most talented Canadian artists. Through this partnership, the Gold Medalist of the OSM ManuLife Competition is annually invited to perform in concert with YOA Orchestra of the Americas in a different part of the world. Since its inception in 1940, the OSM ManuLife Competition has served as a springboard for the careers of close to 300 prize-winners, including André Laplante, Angela Hewitt, Louis Lortie, Angela Cheng, Lyne Fortin, Angèle Dubeau, Jean-François Rivest, James Ehnes, Alexandre da Costa, Jan Lisiecki, and a number of OSM musicians, among them concertmaster Andrew Wan.


Esperanza Azteca is a network of orchestras and choirs involving more than 5,000 at-risk children and youth across Mexico. Since 2012, musicians, alumni, and faculty of YOA Orchestra of the Americas have provided ongoing support through 10-day teaching excursions to Mexico. This work is supported by Grupo Salinas, the Secretaría de Educación Pública de México, and 23 State Governments of Mexico.


The YOA Scholarship of the Americas, jointly sponsored by YOA Orchestra of the Americas and the Verbier Festival Music Camp, aims to offer one outstanding young musician between the ages of 15 and 17 with demonstrated financial need, the opportunity to experience an unparalleled orchestral training program that takes places in Verbier, Switzerland each year in the months of July and August. The award covers all necessary costs associated with participation including travel, medical insurance, tuition, activities, room, and board.


The Annual Sphinx Competition gives Black and Latino classical string players a chance to compete, work with an internationally renowned panel of judges and to perform with professional musicians. Prizes include over $100,000 in scholarships and cash prizes, as well as solo performances with major orchestras across the United States. Each year a finalist of the Sphinx Competition is selected to take part in YOA Orchestra of the Americas. Many of the past laureates have gone on to either study at very prestigious schools or began careers in solo or orchestra playing. Notable judges include Anthony Elliot, Sanford Allen, Atar Arad, Paul Katz, and Kim Kaskashian.