Western Sydney Youth Orchestra play for the first time at Parramatta's Riverside Theatres

MUSIC: SYO began in 1973 with a single orchestra, but in 2017 the organisation will provide weekly orchestral training for musicians aged from 6-25 in 12 ensembles.

MUSIC: SYO began in 1973 with a single orchestra, but in 2017 the organisation will provide weekly orchestral training for musicians aged from 6-25 in 12 ensembles.

Move over Sydney Symphony Orchestra – there’s a new band in town. 

Sydney Youth Orchestras (SYO), in partnership with Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres, is proud to announce the very first Western Sydney Youth Orchestra (WSYO).

The new orchestra has pulled together some of the best young musicians from across western Sydney to rehearse each week and perform together in a series of concerts throughout the year.

WSYO member Lianah Jaensch, 11, started playing the piano at just two-years-old.

“I know how to play the cello and flute,” she said. “I prefer the cello because I get to express myself through more repertoire.”

The Kellyville resident said the WSYO has taught her how to play in sync with the orchestra and identify the other musicians parts.

“I love being a part of the orchestra. It’s a great feeling.”

Jonathan Vardouniotis of Castle Hill is no stranger to music. Both his parents play instruments – his mother plays a tenor and alto trombone and his father plays a bass trombone.

The Hills Grammar School student picked up his first instrument at the tender age of five.

“I started playing the piano at first and I guess it was because I came from a very musical family,” he said.

“Once I reached year 3 I had the option for training in the band and that’s when I made the switch to the french horn.”

The 12-year-old has been tooting his french horn for the past four years.

“The great thing about the french horn is that it can be used in a variety of ensembles, whereas the piano can only be used alone or to accompany another instrument,” he said.

With almost a quarter of the state’s young people living in western Sydney, the establishment of WSYO will encourage participation from musicians who might not be able to make it into Sydney’s CBD for rehearsals once a week.

“Young western Sydney musicians might have been dissuaded from auditioning for SYO because of the distance to our main operations in Sydney city,” SYO chief executive Yarmila Alfonzetti said. “Acknowledging this, we have shifted ourselves to where the musicians are, bringing SYO to them.

“We have people coming to SYO from far and wide, and we are excited about recognising talent everywhere. SYO’s strategic plan includes firm milestones to address the most significant barriers to participation in classical music, and we know one of these is geographical location.”

She said youth orchestras create a unique, inspiring environment for young musicians where they can feel free to express what it is they are passionate about, even if that is classical music.

“We have 15-year-old boys hanging around after rehearsals discussing their favourite Mahler symphony or Strauss Tone Poem,” Alfonzetti said.

  • WSYO’s inaugural concert will be held at 2pm, Sunday, March 26 at Riverside Theatres Parramatta. Tickets: Adults $15, Concession $10. To book: Call 9251 2422.
YOUNG TALENT: Lianah Jaensch, 11, and Jonathan Vardouniotis, 12, are members of the newly launched Western Sydney Youth Orchestra (WSYO).

YOUNG TALENT: Lianah Jaensch, 11, and Jonathan Vardouniotis, 12, are members of the newly launched Western Sydney Youth Orchestra (WSYO).

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