Feature Friday: Collaboration Concert- Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra and Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh

Feature Friday: Collaboration Concert- Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra and Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh

One of UniSound’s biggest goals is to support and promote collaboration across its’ member organizations! This weekend, Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra and Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh are joining forces to perform Mozart’s “Regina Coeli,” KV 276. 

There are obvious benefits to having your young musician join a local musical ensemble: learning how to sing or play along with a group, becoming a stronger musician, and more. However, bringing together two different types of ensembles can aid young musicians more than you think. Keep reading to learn more!

UniSound interviewed Craig Johnson, Executive Director of PYSO, and Emily Leal-Santiesteban, Manager of Junior Mendelssohn, about the upcoming collaboration:

How did this collaboration come to be? What was the process of putting this concert together?

Craig: We’ve collaborated before, but it’s been a number of years now. It’s such a natural fit for the kids – they’re all in the same age bracket and many go to the same schools. The process for putting this together is mostly about choosing the right repertoire. Being able to perform it at Shadyside Presbyterian Church on a prestigious series is really special for us.

Emily: Our last collaboration was in 2013, so it’s been a few years! It all comes down to timing and repertoire that works for both sets of students. It’s been a great experience, the students are loving it, and we’re very excited to be back at Shadyside Presbyterian for Music in a Great Space.

What’s the most exciting part of collaborating for this concert?

Emily: Performing a major work with a live orchestra, especially our colleagues in the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra!

Craig: Getting to play Mozart! As a large youth orchestra, we often focus on large repertoire that uses all the players in the orchestra.

How do the musicians benefit from this collaboration?

Craig: Orchestra players can learn a lot from singers, even young singers of the same age as themselves! How to breathe, how to phrase, different colors of sound. 

Emily: It’s always beneficial for the singers to work with different musicians. Singing with an orchestra can teach students the importance of timing, listening, phrasing, and the ability to trust in each other’s ability to make music.

As you can see from the interview, a collaboration like this is both exciting and an excellent learning experience for all the young instrumentalists and singers in these programs! If you find yourself with time this weekend, consider checking out this concert and supporting these talented young musicians.

Sunday afternoon, January 19, 2020 at 3:00 PM
Music in a Great Space at Shadyside Presbyterian Church
PYSO and the Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh will return to the Shadyside Presbyterian Church sanctuary to present Mozart’s “Regina Coeli,” KV 276, under the direction of PYSO Music Director Earl Lee. PYSO will also perform Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 and Mendelssohn’s concert overture, “The Hebrides.” In addition, the JMCP, under the direction of Music Director Dr. Caron Daley, will perform “The Road Home” adapted by Stephen Paulus, “On my Dreams” by Jocelyn Hagen, and “Desh” a traditional Indian Raga arranged by Ethan Sperry. Hear the next generation of Pittsburgh’s talented musicians join forces for this special concert! No tickets are necessary for admission, but donations will be appreciated. The church is located on the corner of Amberson Avenue and Westminster Place, only one block off Fifth Avenue in Shadyside. Free on-street parking is available surrounding the church. The church is wheelchair-accessible.


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