The New York Youth Symphony Overcomes Challenges of Not Being Able to Record in The Same Room to Release Their First Album on April 8th and Hit #2 on the Billboard Charts
New York, NY – Eighty-seven musicians. One conductor. One piano soloist. All expected to create a cohesive and seamless recording for the first-ever studio album for the New York Youth Symphony (NYYS). But then came COVID and with it a whole host of obstacles that conductors, sound engineers, producers and musicians never thought they would have to deal with.
“Our biggest challenge was that the whole orchestra could never be in the same room together”
, explained Michael Repper, Music Director for NYYS, the premier music education program inspiring young musicians. “One of the most powerful things about orchestras is that they unite dozens of musicians into one musical body, with its members able to listen and react to each other in real time. We had to create that same experience without actually being in the same room together.”
The recording was unlike one they have ever done before. First, the strings were recorded. Then the wind and percussion instruments played along with a rough recording of the other instruments, while they were recorded. “It was like piecing together a huge puzzle where you only have a portion of the required pieces at any one time,” added Mr. Repper. “We designed a special method of rehearsing, both online and in person, which limited our physical contact, and collaborated with the finest engineers and producers in the business to guide us brilliantly through the process.” The musicians never heard what each other sounded like until the recording was complete. “The skill and resilience of these young musicians is a true inspiration, and the finished result is a testament to that,” added Grammy Award-Winning Producer, Judith Sherman.
“The way that our New York Youth Symphony community came together and rallied around this project is truly inspiring”
While the debut album is untitled, an inherent theme of unity seems to not only run through the making of the album, but the music that makes up the album as well. “The way that our New York Youth Symphony community came together and rallied around this project is truly inspiring,” explained Shauna Quill, Executive Director for NYYS. “To complete this album and give a sense of hope and light in an otherwise dark moment is truly amazing and the perfect representation of unity.” Unity is also represented throughout the music featuring four works by three Black women composers – Florence Price, Valerie Coleman, and Jessie Montgomery – with one work, a first US recording of Ms. Coleman’s Umoja, an anthem for Unity. “While it was quite a journey to get here, there seems no better time to celebrate unity and this album gives everyone that chance,” added Ms. Quill. The album is available on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Spotify. In its second week on sale, the album hit #2 on the Traditional Classical Album Billboard chart.