A Letter from the President | April 2016
One of our most highly anticipated annual events involves nearly 200 incredibly talented musicians on stage, an exceptional soloist, a wildly enthusiastic audience and beloved repertoire. Of course I’m referring to the CSO’s Side-by-Side concert where talented students from our Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras (CSYO) program perform with the CSO. This year’s performance takes place Wednesday, April 20, at Music Hall. The top-tier orchestra in the CSO’s education program, the CSYO Philharmonic is the finest youth ensemble in the region. These remarkable student musicians rise to the top of competitive auditions and work throughout the year with CSO Assistant Conductor Gene Chang, performing advanced repertoire not available to them in local school orchestra programs. They perform recitals throughout the season, and the cherry on top is the annual Side-by-Side concert, where CSO musicians serve as their stand partners and mentors. It’s a season highlight as much for the professionals as it is for the students.
While some CSYO students go on to become professional musicians, most stake out careers as doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs or one of dozens of others. They grow into the next generation of our society’s leaders, having gained confidence and skills like teamwork, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, respect, precision and attention to detail in the hours they spent in the CSYO rehearsal room. Business leaders look for these skills in their employees, which means these student musicians are set up for success long before they step into an interview.
These are the kinds of 21st-century skills that ArtsWave has called out in its Blueprint for Collective Action. It’s the role of the arts to help ensure the youth of our region, particularly those who are underserved, have access to meaningful opportunities that fuel creativity and learning. The CSO’s youth orchestra programs (which also include the CSYO Concert Orchestra and CSYO Nouveau Chamber Players) cultivate these skills in students of all levels.
Seeing the future of our region sitting on the Music Hall stage at the Side-by-Side concert is a sight and sound to behold. Our future is in good hands with these students, seeking and sharing their inspiration through the arts.