The American Russian Youth Orchestra (ARYO)

850 Seventh Avenue, Suite 506
New York, NY 10019
Tel: 212-956-3727
Fax: 212-956-3297
Contact: Edythe M. Holbrook, Executive Director

The American Russian Youth Orchestra (ARYO), formerly the American Soviet Youth Orchestra, was founded in 1987. After five World Tours, each creating the orchestra anew, ARYO has achieved international recognition as a musical ambassadorship and a world-class training orchestra for young Russian and American orchestral musicians, vocalists and conductors. ARYO operates under the leadership of a prestigious Board of Directors currently Chaired by Henry Luce III, Chairman and CEO of the Henry Luce Foundation.

From ARYO's inception, the First Ladies of Russia and the United States have served as its Honorary Chairwomen. In 1993, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Naina Yeltsin assumed that role, their only partnership on the world stage. In November, 1997, both First Ladies celebrated this partnership in Yekaterinburg, Russia, President Yeltsin's home town, where they met and were photographed with ARYO musicians.

A Vital Model for Cultural Exchange

ARYO is distinguished by the following characteristics:

ARYO 1998 At a Glance

Moscow Youth Olympics

ARYO will be performing at the Moscow Youth Olympics from July 3 - 19, 1998. Invited by Moscow's Mayor Luzkhov, ARYO's chamber orchestra will give concerts at Spaso House and in Rachmaninoff Hall before joining forces with nine other international youth orchestras to form a 1,000-member "Orchestra of the World", which will perform on July 15 on Red Square. This concert, which will be conducted by Valery Gergiev, will include Mahler's Symphony for 1000 and a work commissioned from a Russian composer, will be broadcast worldwide.

Classics in Context: A 20th Century Retrospective
1998 - 2003

In 1998, ARYO will launch a six year program centered on the great composers of the 20th century, under the direction of ARYO Music Director Leon Botstein. This program will culminate in 2003 with a concert in the White Nights Festival celebrating St. Petersburg's centennial.

In October 1998, fifteen of ARYO's Chamber Music Players will tour the United States, touching down in New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, Washington, Harrisburg, Miami, Nashville, and Los Angeles. In June 1999, ARYO symphonic orchestra will tour Russia, Eastern and Central Europe and the United States performing under the direction of Maestro Leon Botstein and Yuri Bashmet. The repertoire will center on a "Retrospective of the Twentieth Century" with selections from Shostakovich, Ellington, Bartok and Mahler.

From the Hudson to the Neva:
A Three Year Cross-Cultural Odyssey 1995 - 1997

In 1995, ARYO's first chamber orchestra toured the United States, with performances and homestays in New York, Cleveland, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, San Francisco and Wheeling, West Virginia. In 1996, the ARYO piloted its first residencies for alumni musicians and young conductors. In January 1997, a quintet of ARYO Chamber players "The Mighty Five" made five US appearances, including concerts at The World Financial Center's "Saint Petersburg: A Cultural Celebration" in New York City and in Nashville, Tennessee, and in September 1997, it performed for the Tolstoy Foundation in New York.

ARYO's World Tour 1997 was the culmination of its three-year program, "From the Hudson to the Neva," under the stewardship of Bard College which was chosen as its permanent home in 1994. Bard College President, Leon Botstein, is also ARYO's Music Director and Principal Conductor.

On June 18, 1997, its 10th anniversary, ARYO launched its fifth World Tour with a Gala Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall under Maestro Leon Botstein. Concerts in Nashville and Tanglewood preceded ARYO's departure for Saint Petersburg, where ARYO musicians were in residence at the Maryiinski Theatre for their June 26 concert in the White Nights Festival under Maestro Valery Gergiev. On July 1, ARYO performed at Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow on its 850th anniversary and at the Mars plant in Stupino before a boat concert tour of the Volga region as part of its new partnership with the Russian National Orchestra. Principals of RNO traveled with ARYO providing daily coaching sessions and master classes. ARYO's last stop was in Yekaterinburg, President's Boris Yeltsin's hometown.

ARYO's repertoire was shaped around two programs: "Russian and American Music at the Turn of the Century" and "Remembering the Alliance: Russian and American Music, 1941 - 1945."

ARYO Sponsors

ARYO is proud to have The Americas Finnair as its official airline. Principal sponsors of ARYO include The Henry Luce Foundation Inc., Bank Saint Petersburg, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Russian Ministry of Culture, James H. Ottaway, Jr., the Starr Foundation, Gourmet Magazine, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Alexei Barbariush, Conde Nast Publications Inc., Roy A. Hunt Foundation, Richard and Priscilla Hunt, Carillon Importers Ltd., Deloitte & Touche, FireBird Restaurant, and Marsh & McLennan.

Where ARYO Has Been

ARYO has performed over 50 concert venues, including: Washington, New York, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Milan, as well as cities across the former Soviet Union including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Ulianovsk, Samara, Kaliningrad, Togliatti, Tallinn, Riga, and Yurmala, some of which were formerly closed cities. ARYO has also given free concerts in popular venues such as the US Capitol West Lawn, the Mann Music Center, Mizner Park in Boca Raton, New York's World Financial Center and the Hollywood Bowl.

The Stars of ARYO

The ARYO is proud to have in its roster of principal conductors:
  • Leon Botstein
  • Valery Gergiev
  • Arnold Katz
  • Dmitri Liss
  • Zubin Mehta
  • Constantine Orbelian
  • Leonard Slatkin
    American Symphony Orchestra
    Kirov Opera Orchestra
    Novosibirsk Symphony
    Ural Philharmonic
    Israeli Philharmonic
    Moscow Chamber Orchestra
    National Symphony Orchestra
ARYO principal conductor Hugh Wolff and ARYO resident conductors Neal Stulberg and Catherine Comet are the winners of the prestigious Seaver Conductors Award.

ARYO alumni, their talents honed by their experience, are taking their places in great orchestras of the United States and Russia: the New World Symphony, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, Ural Philharmonic, Novosibirsk Symphony, Bolshoi Orchestra, Kirov Orchestra, and the White House Marine Corps Band, to mention a few. Others are pursuing careers in international relations.

For further information about ARYO, contact Executive Director Edythe Holbrook using the information provided above.

Sponsored by:
Center for Civil Society International

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Last updated: April 9, 1998