YOSA Earns ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming

June 18, 2013

Music Director Troy Peters with YOSA’s 2013 ASCAP Award

YOSA is one of 19 American orchestras honored today with a 2012-2013 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming at the League of American Orchestras 68th National Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Music Director Troy Peters accepted the award on our behalf.

YOSA was selected for the first place Award for Programming of Contemporary Music in the Youth Orchestra category, because it featured the works of contemporary composers like Arturo Márquez, Bright Sheng, and Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon in its 2012-2013 season. YOSA also presented world premieres of new compositions by two YOSA students, Katie Hattier and Darian Thomas.

“We are especially pleased to be recognized by ASCAP for our ongoing commitment to living composers and new works,” said Troy Peters, music director for YOSA. “Performing contemporary music is a vital element in YOSA’s ongoing effort to give our students and our audiences exciting musical experiences that broaden horizons and enrich lives.”

The League of American Orchestras and ASCAP present the awards each year to orchestras of all sizes for programs that challenge the audience, build the repertoire, and increase interest in music of our time. Approximately $725,000 has been bestowed on orchestras since the awards were established in 1947. YOSA will receive $500 as part of the award.


Steven Payne Named Executive Director of East Bay Performing Arts

May 30, 2013

photo of Steven Payne, executive director of YOSA

Our own Steven Payne, the executive director of YOSA, has accepted a position with the East Bay Performing Arts in Oakland, Calif., and will be leaving San Antonio at the end of June.

In his new position, Steven will be executive director of the East Bay Performing Arts, which is a unique organization in that it is comprised of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Oakland Symphony Chorus and Oakland Youth Orchestra who signed a merger agreement in 2010.  The full release from East Bay Performing Arts can be found here (hyperlink).

Steven has been with YOSA since 2007 and has been instrumental in developing and implementing our strategic plan. He led the organization’s growth from an annual budget of $600,000 to more than $1.2 million. During his time with YOSA, we’ve increased the number of students we serve from 450 to more than 1,500. He was responsible for launching YOSA MÁS and expanded the duties of the music director position.  He managed three overseas performing tours: Helsinki, Tallinn and St. Petersburg in 2007; China in 2010; the United Kingdom in 2012.

We can’t believe he’s leaving us, but we’ve never been in better shape as an organization and we are poised to continue the growth he helped us to visualize.

“I am proud of the tremendous progress we have made and the growth that has occurred. It has truly been an honor and a pleasure to work alongside many community leaders, donors, music educators, and loyal staff members as we looked to fulfill a dream of creating a youth orchestra program which made a deep and meaningful impact on many children’s lives in San Antonio,” said Steven Payne. “The growth and changes over the last six years have been dramatic. But as I reflect on the accomplishments, the challenges, and the transitions, I feel that I can depart knowing that the organization will remain in good hands. There is a strong vision in place, clear strategic direction, and a strong staff that can carry the work forward as a new leader is identified.”

“We are really sorry to see Steven leave YOSA,” said Paul Oroian, board president. “His leadership and strategic direction have been integral to the organization’s recent success and has created a vision for the future direction of YOSA. We wish him the best – San Antonio’s loss is surely Oakland’s gain.”

“Steve has been a tremendous inspiration to me and to YOSA’s student musicians,” said Troy Peters, music director. “He has made YOSA a great organization San Antonio can be especially proud of.”

Suffice it to say, we will miss him terribly, but we are grateful for all the work he has done on our behalf.

Brandon Henson, YOSA’s operations director will serve as interim executive director while the board begins the search process for a permanent replacement.  Exciting new developments on the horizon for the organization in the coming year are its move into the new Tobin Center for Performing Arts and an international tour to Quebec, both in 2014.

YOSA and Beethoven Team Up for a Great Race

March 21, 2013

Race Start LineIt’s not quite like singing for your supper, but it’s pretty close.

YOSA presents its second annual Beethoven 5K/10K Walk and Run on Saturday, April 13.  It’s an important fundraising event for our organization and we need your help to make it a success. We’re the only race in San Antonio with an orchestra at the finish line!

Beethoven 5K/10K Event Information:

We need all our fans, musicians, parents and supporters to spread the word about this event.

How Can you Support the Beethoven 5K?Finish LIne Finale

Sponsorship is a great way to support our event. We have sponsorships starting at $250 and going all the way through to $10,000.  Do you know a person or company who can sponsor our event?  Share the sponsorship details with them here.

Another way you support our event is registering for the fun. We are very grateful to our partner Fleet Feet Sports for their support for the second year in a row.  This year, we’ve added a great promotional partner with Yelp San Antonio.  They will be promoting our race online and in person on race day. Watch for details about checking in on race day and the cool stuff Yelp will be giving away to participants. You can find YOSA on Yelp, too!

Finally, you can support the race virtually by purchasing a “Breakfast with Beethoven” package for just $35.  This gets you a tee shirt, mug and beverage mix on race day and you don’t even need to run!  This is a great way for relatives of YOSA students to show their support for our organization.

Race SuccessSo what are you waiting for? Take a moment and see where you can share this story so our April 13 race is a sell-out!

Brahms Reimagined

February 2, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013 7:30 p.m.
Trinity University’s Laurie Auditorium

Tickets available from Ticketmaster.


As a featured partner in the San Antonio Symphony’s 2013 Brahms Festival, the YOSA Philharmonic will collaborate with the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio  for a program of Brahms, transcribed and reimagined. Here are some notes on the program, written by YOSA Music Director Troy Peters.

Sheng: Black Swan

Born in Shanghai, Bright Sheng (born 1955) studied piano with his mother from age four before attending the Shanghai Conservatory. In 1982, he immigrated to the United States, becoming a protégé of Leonard Bernstein. He subsequently acquired another champion in Gerard Schwarz, who invited Sheng to serve as composer-in-residence at the Seattle Symphony from 1992 to 1994. Commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, Black Swan is a 2006 transcription for orchestra of a solo piano piece by Johannes Brahms, the Intermezzo in A major, Op. 118, No. 2. This song-like intermezzo, completed in 1893, conveys a feeling of serenity and deep tenderness, offset by the autumnal tone that pervades its central episode.

Brahms: Choral Works

In 1858, Brahms became the conductor of a women’s choir in his hometown of Hamburg. Struck by the relative paucity of appropriate repertoire, he wrote his first published choral work, a poignant Ave Maria with organ accompaniment. Less than a year later, he arranged the organ part for orchestra, adding some lovely woodwind lines. For the same women’s chorus, Brahms wrote four songs with the unusual accompaniment of harp and two horns in 1860. The Lied von Shakespeare, a melancholy song of unrequited love from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, is the second of this set. In the summer of 1886, while vacationing in Thun, Switzerland, Brahms wrote an especially beautiful set of five songs for low voice and piano, inspired by his fondness for a young contralto named Hermine Spies. Brahms loved the melody of the first song, Wie Melodien zieht es mir, so much that he reused it in his Second Violin Sonata. More recently, California organist and conductor Brad Slocum arranged this song for chorus. Much lighter in character, Neckereien is an 1863 setting of a Moravian folk poem. Brahms’s original version for a quartet of solo voices transfers well to a larger chorus.

Brahms-Parlow: Hungarian Dances No. 5 & 6

Brahms was barely 20 years old when he accompanied the showy violinist Eduard Reményi on an 1853 concert tour around central Europe and fell in love with the propulsive Hungarian gypsy-style numbers that were Reményi’s specialty. For years afterwards, Brahms entertained party guests with piano improvisations on Hungarian gypsy melodies; by 1869, he finally gave in to his friends’ urging that he write some down and publish them. The Hungarian Dances (originally for piano four-hands) turned out to be a goldmine for Brahms and his publisher. After Brahms orchestrated three of the dances, his publisher commissioned other musicians (like the military bandmaster, Albert Parlow) to make orchestral arrangements of the remaining 18.

Brahms-Schoenberg: Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor

Brahms also displayed his love of Hungarian gypsy music in the finale of his great G minor Piano Quartet. (A piano quartet, by the way, is not four pianos, but an ensemble of violin, viola, cello, and piano.) Completed in 1861, the quartet was premiered with Clara Schumann at the piano; Clara was the great love of Brahms’s life, the widow of his recently deceased friend and mentor, Robert Schumann. The music is passionate and expansive, with tremendous expressive range, one of the great masterpieces of romantic chamber music. Later, in the late 1930s, the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg was living in Los Angeles, where the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic was German conductor Otto Klemperer. After Schoenberg proposed that he might orchestrate the G minor Piano Quartet to create a large-scale symphonic work, Klemperer introduced the new orchestration in 1937. Schoenberg claimed that he intended to “remain strictly in the style of Brahms and not to go farther than he himself would have gone if he lived today,” but many listeners raise an eyebrow at the occasional appearance of xylophone or muted brass, moments that pull the music squarely into the 20th century.

Stop! And Feel the Music.

January 11, 2013

Hear it, too. YOSA’s unique fundraising event on Saturday, January 26 is NOT your average gala. In fact, it’s far from it. It’s part cabaret, part pop-up orchestra, plus extraordinary food and drink.

Our musicians will show you their contemporary side with YOSA musicians performing unique versions of pop and rock songs. The YOSA Pop-Up Orchestra, made up of some of the region’s very best young musicians from the YOSA Philharmonic, will entertain guests with some of the biggest recent pop hits, including “Call Me Maybe” and a local variation on “Gangnam Style,” as well as familiar rock classics.

Last summer, a video of YOSA musicians singing Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” while they were traveling to London went viral on YouTube. After a successful appearance at the Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio Marathon in November, YOSA has been working up a new set of songs.

Last week, YOSA musicians dropped in at Rackspace Hosting to thank them for their support by performing “Call Me Maybe” at their San Antonio offices in Wincrest.

We’ll also have some swell things to auction, led by San Antonio’s own “fancy pants” auctioneer Molly Cox.

Maybe you can show us some support…buy a ticket today by going here. It’s just $35 to you, but it means the world to our kids.  You can also donate a live or silent auction item or be an event sponsor.

Stop. And Feel the Music

Saturday, January 26

6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The Radius Building

106 Auditorium Circle

San Antonio, TX 78205

P.S. Event seats are limited, so reserve yours today. With performers this good, it will be a sell-out.

YOSA receives $100,000 plus a Challenge Grant from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation

December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas to us!

The Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) got an early Christmas present this year, in the form of a grant from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation.

The $150,000 award includes a$100,000 gift, plus a $50,000 challenge grant to cultivate new donors in 2013.  The Kronkosky Charitable Foundation will match dollar-for-dollar each new donor which YOSA cultivates by July 2013, up to an additional $50,000.  YOSA was one of many organizations receiving end-of-year grants in the region, some of which were highlighted in today’s Express-News.

The focus of the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation is to support programs, projects and collaborative efforts that reach as many people as possible; they support organizations in Bandera, Bexar, Comal and Kendall Counties. The foundation’s support of the arts is generous and forward thinking, as they look at the life-long impact that classical music study will have on a young musician.

“We are overwhelmed at the generosity of the Kronkosky Foundation,” says Steven Payne, Executive Director of YOSA.  “They recognize the financial challenges faced by arts organizations and believe in our mission to bring classical music to the youth of San Antonio. The potential for this grant – at $200,000 – is enormous for our organization.”

The news comes just 10 days after YOSA received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to support the 2013 Artist-in-Residence program which will feature electric violinist Tracy Silverman and composer Kenji Bunch in the Texas premier of a new concerto for electric violin and orchestra.

The funds will be used for general operating expenses, the many things that are needed for YOSA to function efficiently and serve a maximum number of young musicians.  Grants like this one are increasingly important to YOSA, as many funders want to support specific program interests or fund capital needs.  General operating support allows YOSA to pay salaries, utility bills, and other necessary elements of its $1.2 million budget.

YOSA will begin its campaign to raise its portion of the $50,000 for the Challenge Grant in January.

YOSA receives NEA grant to support Artist-In-Residence Community Program

December 7, 2012

Earlier this week, we received the exciting news that we were the recipient of a $10,000 NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant.  It’s an exciting and humbling experience and one we couldn’t wait to share with our YOSA supporters.

Only 153 organizations in the entire COUNTRY were recipients this time around, so it’s an especially good piece of news.  The focus of this type of grant is to support small to mid-sized organizations in projects which “extend the reach of the arts to populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.”

This grant will support our 2013 Artist-in-Residence Program, which will feature several new components.

Electric violinist Tracy Silverman and composer Kenji Bunch will be featured in the Texas premier of a new concerto for electric violin and orchestra in November — an unparalleled opportunity for the YOSA Philharmonic. While in San Antonio, the pair will also work with underserved students in YOSA MÁS,(Music After School), a program in conjunction with the Good Samaritan Community Services in San Antonio’s near west side.  Similarly, YOSA is establishing school partnerships for Silverman and Bunch to lead workshops for the 440 string students in the Roosevelt Compact of the NEISD and at Judson High School.  The residency will culminate in a concert at the Majestic Theatre.

“To say that we are excited and grateful for this grant would be an understatement,” says Steven Payne, Executive Director of YOSA.  “The NEA’s support of our program will create new opportunities for hundreds of student musicians in San Antonio, many of whom would never have an opportunity to meet and work with musicians of the caliber of Tracy Silverman and Kenji Bunch. For YOSA, to be part of the Orchestra Engagement Lab, which integrates community engagement into the process of commissioning new music is equally as exciting.”

Stay tuned for confirmed dates and details on the project early next year.

Time for Symphony in a Stocking

December 3, 2012

No, we’re not jamming all our performers into socks this holiday season. What we ARE doing is combining the best delights of the holiday season and raising money for our musicians at the same time.

YOSA violinist Wolfie Draving performed last week at Rackspace to preview Symphony in a Stocking during Rackers lunch hour

YOSA violinist Wolfie Draving performed last week at Rackspace to preview Symphony in a Stocking during Rackers lunch hour

And we just made your holiday shopping simpler. Symphony in a Stocking is a traditional stocking filled with treats for the season together with a “best of” YOSA CD and other memorabilia.

They are yours for just $75 each –$40 is tax deductible as a donation to the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio.

Give the gift of music, food and beverage and we’ll continue to keep the music coming for the more than 1,500 musicians we serve each year.

Here’s how to get yours:

IN PERSON: We’ll be selling the stockings at the Historic Maverick Carter Home on Tuesday Dec.  4 from 4 to 8 p.m. If you stop by, you’ll enjoy live music by our musicians and see our YOSA Christmas tree all decked out with ornaments from our community supporters.

BY PHONE: We can take your order by phone during business hours by calling: (210) 737-0097.

These gifts will sell out early, so don’t wait to order yours.  Every stocking purchase helps keep the music alive with hundreds of young musicians this year from all over San Antonio.

Here’s wishing you great holiday music from the team at Youth Orchestras of San Antonio.

Did You Get an Ornament in the Mail?

November 30, 2012

Maybe you got an ornament from YOSA in the mail.  It might have looked like the picture to the right.

Toni Kyle with the YOSA ornament and poinsettia.

Toni Kyle with the YOSA ornament and poinsettia.

Please fill it out and send it back! We are trying to deck the halls, or at least our tree, with as many YOSA ornaments as the ol’ tannenbaum will bear.

We’ll share your YOSA wishes on our Facebook page and  we’ll be posting photos regularly there  as we overload the conifer.

We won’t mind if you include a little Christmas present for YOSA, too.

Happy holidays from YOSA!

Freudigman Makes Conducting Debut

November 8, 2012
Ken Freudigman, director of the YOSA Symphony

Ken Freudigman, director of the YOSA Symphony

Kenneth Freudigman, principal cello of the San Antonio Symphony, will debut as director of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) Symphony on Sunday at Roosevelt High School as part of YOSA’s City Series.

Freudigman’s first concert will include pieces from Rossini, Holst and Sibelius and he will guest conduct the Sinfonettia Strings in Beethoven, Mozart, Bernofsky, and Jackson.

He is well known in the San Antonio music scene, having co-founded Camerata San Antonio as well as serving as its artistic director. He is also an adjunct professor of cello at UTSA and is the former Education Director of the Cactus Pear Music Festival.

Freudigman studied cello at Interlochen Center for the Arts and Eastman School of Music. He began his orchestral and chamber music career with the Rochester Philharmonic and as a founding member of the Esterhazy Chamber Ensemble. In 1992, he joined the New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. He has also performed with the Grand Rapids, Charleston, and Virginia Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Sarasota Opera and the Mexico City Philharmonic.

He has been working with the 90 young musicians in the Symphony since August and is enjoying it.

“I am looking forward to passing on my passion for music to the next generation. I feel it’s important for professionals to be mentors to young musicians and to pass on the years of training and experience and tradition that we received from our mentors,” says Freudigman. “In many ways, this is an oral tradition that has been handed down from teacher to student for hundreds of years.”

The program, which will be presented this Sunday, November 11 at Roosevelt High School at 5 p.m., was intended to challenge the students.

“There are three works on this program and they’re all about team-building. This program was designed not only for the musical enjoyment of the students, they’re learning ensemble skills within their related sections and throughout the entire orchestra,” Freudigman says. “They’re learning how to listen to each other, fit their parts together and adjust to one another.”

On the program this Sunday are:  The Overture to the Barber of Seville by Giacchino Rossini in an arrangement by Merle J. Isaac; St. Paul Suite by Gustave Holst and Finlandia by Jean Sibelius.

Even though he’s only been working with this group of teenagers for three months, they have made quite an impression on Freudigman.

“What would have surprised me is if these kids hadn’t stepped up. I had very high expectations and believed fully that they would step up to the challenge of performing this very challenging program.”

The City Series concert is free and open to the public and will be held in the Roosevelt High School auditorium at 5110 Walzem Road at 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 11.