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New York, NY Merriam-Webster defines “crescendo” as “music that is gradually building.” Much like its definition, the New York Youth Symphony’s new program with the same name will do just that by giving young New York City musicians a voice and a chance to expand their musical education through ensemble training and performances.  

Music Director of Crescendo,  Tanatchaya (Tanya) Chanphanitpornkit, is no stranger to the impact music can have on a child’s life. “I never had access to, or really knew about playing music until I came to the United States. In Thailand, it wasn’t part of the conversation at all, and it has made me understand the importance of access and education right here in our own backyard, explained Ms. Chanphanitpornkit. Born into poverty in the farmlands of Thailand, Tanya had no access to music education as a child. It wasn’t until she moved to New Jersey at the age of 10 that she had some exposure to it in her public school. And in high school when she really dove into the Bass and began to take it more seriously, her father, who was a taxi driver and provided for the family, passed away. She felt like music and her music teachers raised her and helped her through the hardest times of her life. “It is with that experience that I truly believe that Crescendo could not only help the lives of youth around NYC, but the world by bridging the gap in music education and teaching everyone the power of music and building a love for it,” stated Ms. Chanphanitpornkit.  

Launching at the start of the 2023/24 season, New York Youth Symphony’s Crescendo will be a 44-piece string orchestra for New York City residents ages 10-18 years old. It will provide access to outstanding music education for a diverse range of students who have been adversely affected during the pandemic. In addition to weekly ensemble rehearsals, students will receive chamber music coaching, workshops, and masterclasses with professional musicians; plus, guidance on topics including audition preparation, audience engagement, careers in the arts, and festival and school admissions. Students will study and prepare music by historically underrepresented composers, including women, members of the LGBTQIA community, and people of color – opening the minds of these musicians making a more inclusive and thoughtful repertoire – as well as standard works from the classical canon. Crescendo will perform two concerts per season, at locations to be confirmed.  

Shauna Quill, Executive Director of NYYS, reflected that, “the pandemic caused disproportionate damage to arts education in the city. Artists and teachers moved away; programs folded into each other. While online teaching was available to some, many schools did not offer music instruction and opportunities were lost. NYYS has seen a drastic rise in applications for its programs since then. But, of the 310 applications for the orchestra this season, only 22 students from NYC were accepted. We have a responsibility to step into this space and create new opportunities for students in NYC. Crescendo will help fill a gap in the arts education pathway.” 

The instrumentation for Crescendo will be strings only, for its pilot year. providing an on-ramp for students around the city at public middle and high schools, community music schools, and/or El Sistema programs. They will rehearse on Sunday afternoons during the school year under Ms. Chanphanipornkit. Another key component of the program will be an Artists-in-Residency program, engaging professional musicians to coach and mentor Crescendo students. As a partner of Interlochen, Crescendo students will have the opportunity to apply for a full-tuition scholarship for the summer of 2024. 

Crescendo’s Ensemble-in-Residence for the first year will be the Aizuri Quartet, who has had a relationship with NYYS for several seasons through the Chamber Music and Composition programs. Aizuri will be holding 4 sectionals – 2 for each concert cycle and performing with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall’s Zankell Hall on Sunday, April 21 at 3pm. 

NYYS Crescendo will provide mentorship and leadership opportunities for NYYS students who will assist the younger members throughout the year, including running chamber music parties and playing side-by-side within the orchestra. 

Students, parents, and administrators interested in receiving more information about Crescendo should visit the Crescendo page on the NYYS website, which includes detailed information about the program, including rehearsal and performance dates, auditions, repertoire, and a welcome video from Tanya. Students may also complete a form on the NYYS website to keep informed on Crescendo updates. Auditions will be held in August for rehearsals beginning in the fall. 

About NYYS 

 The New York Youth Symphony is one of the most awarded youth programs of its kind in the nation, including the 2023 Grammy award for Best Orchestral Performance. It is recognized for its innovative, educational programs for talented young musicians. Founded in 1963 as an orchestra to showcase the metropolitan area’s most gifted musicians ages 12-22, its activities have since grown to encompass programs in chamber music, conducting, composition, jazz, and musical theater songwriting with performances at world class venues including Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Through its commissioning program, First Music, the NYYS has commissioned over 170 works from young composers since 1984. 

About Tanatchaya Chanphanitpornkit 

Tanatchaya (Tanya) Chanphanitpornkit, a double bassist from Trat, Thailand, is a conductor focused on inspiring and educating young musicians. As a double bassist, she has performed at Carnegie Hall, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and Kodak Hall, and under the batons of Dr. Sandra Dackow, Jeffrey Grogan, Dr. Mark Scatterday, and Ankush Bahl. 

Ms. Chanphanitpornkit received her education from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied the double bass with James VanDemark. At Eastman, she served as the President of the Eastman Students’ Association. Her contributions to the community earned her the Susan B. Anthony Women’s Leadership Award and Linda Muise Student Life Award for outstanding dedication, enthusiasm, and collaboration to promote and maintain a strong quality of life for all. 

Ms. Chanphanitpornkit continued her education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where the emphasis of her Master of Arts and Master of Education degrees was on social justice through orchestral pedagogy and her pedagogy was highlighted in an exhibit for the Smith Learning Theater. Currently, she is continuing her studies as a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, where her research interests include first-generation college students at music conservatories. 

Ms. Chanphanitpornkit expertise as a teacher range from working with toddlers to young adults. Having taught toddlers at the Eastman Community Music School and young musicians at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s El Sistema program and the New Jersey Youth Symphony summer camp for many years, she is thrilled to continue setting up young musicians for success in their musical endeavors. 

Ms. Chanphanitpornkit currently holds positions teaching orchestra at the Nyack public schools and Manhattan School of Music Precollege. Her current faculty positions in higher education include Columbia University, William Paterson University, and The College of New Jersey. As she continues her journey in music education with her students, she will always base her decisions and teachings on the belief that the symphony is for everyone. 

About Aizuri Quartet 

The Aizuri Quartet has established a unique position within today’s musical landscape, infusing all of their music-making with infectious energy, joy and warmth, cultivating curiosity in listeners, and inviting audiences into the concert experience through their innovative programming, and the depth and fire of their performances.

Praised by The Washington Post for “astounding” and “captivating” performances that draw from its notable “meld of intellect, technique and emotions,” the Aizuri Quartet was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, along with top prizes at the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan and the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London. The Quartet’s debut album, Blueprinting, featuring new works written for the Aizuri Quartet by five American composers, was released by New Amsterdam Records to critical acclaim (“In a word, stunning” – I Care If You Listen), nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY Award, and named one of NPR Music’s Best Classical Albums of 2018.

The Aizuris view the string quartet as a living art and springboard for community, collaboration, curiosity, and experimentation. At the core of their music-making is a virtuosic ability to illuminate a vast range of musical styles through their eclectic, engaging and thought-provoking programs. The Quartet has drawn praise both for bringing “a technical bravado and emotional power” to bold new commissions, and for its “flawless” (San Diego Union-Tribune) performances of the great works of the past. Exemplifying this intrepid spirit, the Aizuri Quartet curated and performed five adventurous programs as the 2017-2018 MetLiveArts String Quartet-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, leading The New York Times to applaud them as “genuinely exciting,” “imaginative,” and “a quartet of expert collaborators.” For this series, they collaborated with spoken word artist Denice Frohman and shakuhachi player Kojiro Umezaki, commissioned new works by Kinan Azmeh, Michi Wiancko and Wang Lu, as well as commissioned new arrangements of vocal music by Hildegard von Bingen and Carlo Gesualdo, which they paired with the music of Conlon Nancarrow, Haydn and Beethoven in a program focused on music created in periods of isolation.

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