By Paul Lambis
For over 20 years, the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra has been bringing new energy, new perspectives and new commitment to classical music. The youthful perspective it brings to orchestral playing, at the same time educating its young musicians, encourages students to fulfil their potential.
Ranked among the top European youth orchestras, the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra exists to empower all individuals with inspiration, knowledge, and a love for music. With over 80 members between the ages of nine and 26, the organisation offers the best music-training programme in the country, allowing students to learn, innovate and develop as emerging artists. From the power of quality music education in the classroom, and the chance to represent Cyprus on the world stage, the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra is an indispensable hub of musical culture.
“Graduates of the programmes of the institution are accepted by top ranking conservatoires and higher education music institutions worldwide,” says Artistic Director and Conductor of the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra Yiorgos Kountouris. “Our institution operates as a perpetual young talent workshop for which I am particularly proud, since it nurtures our children to receive a spherical music education, and helps them develop into professional musicians.”
As a symphonic ensemble, the orchestra performs a variety of repertoires, both in Cyprus and abroad. At the same time, the various ensembles of the orchestra participate at numerous state, private and charity events throughout the year. “By educating the most talented young musicians of our country, we aim to offer quality music education similar to that of musically developed countries as it will allow our youth to expand their knowledge and abilities,” says Managing Officer of the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra Foundation Antigoni Antoniou.
Through several educational programmes offered by the orchestra, children are able to receive complete music education both on an individual and group level, and are therefore equipped with the necessary knowledge to enter the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra and develop into professional musicians.
ΣymphoΠedia is one of the most innovative educational programmes offered to children from the ages of seven to 12, allowing students to develop their social skills through music. Music, after all, is the ultimate entity in any context. “It is a universal language that promotes the importance of social and emotional skills that will stick with them throughout their lives,” says Antigoni. “Students learn to manage their emotions, are taught to celebrate diversity, and develop leadership skills.”
ΣymphoΠedia is an integrated cycle of performance practice offering children a selection of various ensembles: percussion or brass, woodwinds or strings, rhythm class, vocal workshop and the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra’s choir. The programme runs in Nicosia on Saturday mornings, and is available to all children throughout Cyprus, provided they have one year of symphony music tuition from any other institution, organisation or conservatory behind them. A free shuttle bus service is also available to transport children to and from other districts.
The Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra also arranges a Summer Music Camp, which has become an integral part of its music educational activities. The Music Camp is able to accommodate one hundred musicians from Cyprus, including students from other European and non-European countries. Individual instrumental tuition, master classes, and a variety of other social activities are organised on this exciting excursion, ending with an evening concert that is open to members of the public in Nicosia or Limassol.
When asked what inspires him the most, Yiorgos explains, “The best part of my job is working with young talent. Having the chance to see the world through their eyes, together with their dedication and passion to music, makes me full of joy and gives me hope.”
To find out more about the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra, and their activities, visit www.cyso.org.cy YouTube: CYYSO