Six students from the Northern Rivers Conservatorium will take part in an exciting project with leading musicians from the Australian World Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, culminating in a performance at Sydney’s City Recital Hall.

Thirty-nine young musicians from regional towns across NSW travel to Sydney on 30 May for five days of rehearsals, tutorials and concerts, as members of Regional Youth Orchestra NSW (RYO).

The RYO students will have the opportunity to meet, learn and perform with some of the very best professional musicians in the nation.

Mitsuki Burgener, Nika Feldshtein, Maia Moore, April O’Reilly, Olive O’Reilly and Raquel van Merwyk will represent Northern Rivers Conservatorium at this exciting event.

Anita Bellman, Executive Director of the Northern Rivers Conservatorium said  “Michael McCabe, our Head of Strings and Thomas Zachary, Cello Tutor, are to be credited with preparing our Northern Rivers contingent so beautifully each week in both individual lessons and the Chamber Strings Ensemble.  We are so very proud of these remarkable young musicians.”

“Congratulations to all six of our students, they are all so deserving of their positions in the Regional Youth Orchestra and the privilege of working with musicians of this incredible calibre.  These students have shown dedication and diligence over some years now to achieve this level of technique, performance and musicianship” said Michael McCabe.

On Monday 31 May and Tuesday 1 June, the students will work with expert musicians from the Australian World Orchestra (AWO), who will give the students tutorials on the music they are preparing to perform later in the week. The students will watch AWO in rehearsal and have a Q & A session with AWO’s composer-in-residence, Paul Dean. RYO will also rehearse on the stage of City Recital Hall, assisted by key AWO players.

On Wednesday 2 June, the students will visit Sydney Town Hall as guests of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO). During their time with SSO, the students will listen to a talk from SSO conductor Ben Northey, rehearse on the stage of Sydney Town Hall with SSO musicians sitting in to offer feedback, and attend an SSO concert in the evening.

In between the sessions with these two professional orchestras, RYO will continue their own rehearsal program at Lewisham Public School, hosted by the NSW Department of Educations’ Arts Unit.

Thursday is the final day of the project and sees RYO prepare to perform in the Australian World Orchestra’s evening concert at City Recital Hall. After watching AWO perform in the first half, the young musicians will take to the stage to perform the Hungarian Dance No 6 by Brahms. Several AWO players will play alongside the young musicians in this performance.

The regional music students selected for this opportunity range in age from 11 to 20 years. They are all members of Regional Youth Orchestra NSW (RYO), an auditioned orchestra of talented young musicians established in 2016 by the Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums.

RYO draws its players from the Association’s 17 regional conservatoriums, all funded by the NSW Government to provide high quality music education for regional schools and communities.

“The Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums has forged wonderful partnerships with a number of leading music organisations,” says President of the Association and Director of Clarence Valley Conservatorium, Adam Wills.

“This project sees RYO collaborate for the fifth time with the Australian World Orchestra, and for the second time with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, with both orchestras providing unique opportunities for our talented young musicians.”

“In addition, several alumni of RYO who have successfully gone on to tertiary studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music will join us for the project.”

Bringing the students together for this inspiring program of activities in Sydney has required months of planning on the part of the Association.

“We have young musicians coming all the way from Lismore in the north, Wagga down south, and from Armidale, Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Grafton, Gosford, Muswellbrook, Orange, Tamworth, Wollongong and Young,” says Vivienne Winther, Director of Macquarie Conservatorium in Dubbo and Co-ordinator of RYO NSW.

“Our five-day program in Sydney is packed with rehearsals, tutorials and attending concerts,” says Pat Brearley, Director of Coffs Harbour Conservatorium and Vice President of the Association.

“At our previous orchestral projects, the students gained real insight into the life of a professional musician and several decided to pursue music as a career as a result.”

The young musicians of RYO will meet up again in November, this time in Grafton, where they will prepare a full-length concert program for performances on the North Coast and in Sydney.

“The repertoire we start work on this month will form part of the concert program for the Grafton project,” says Patrick Brennan, RYO conductor and Director of Central Coast Conservatorium.

“So getting together for these five days and working with expert professional musicians will be very inspiring for RYO’s future performances.”