ESYO believes in music’s power to transcend boundaries and unite communities in shared celebration of the arts. In addition to the more than 30 public performances ESYO offers each season, it seeks unique opportunities for its members to engage in musical exchange, from local gatherings to international tours.
ESYO has hosted and participated in numerous musical festivals since its founding in 1979. These include Days of Percussion, Jazz ArtsFest, String Festivals, A Festival of Young Artists and, most recently, the World Association of Symphonic Band Ensemble Festival. ESYO Youth Orchestra has had five international tours, with its most recent to Portugal in 2016. The ESYO Wind Orchestra toured Hungary at the invitation of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.
ESYO Wind Orchestra toured for the first time in its history, August, 2018. At the invitation of Dr. Czikota Jozsef, President of the Eastern World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), the Wind Orchestra traveled to Mako to participate in the 2018 WASBE Music Festival. As Festival participants, the Wind Orchestra had the opportunity to perform and to hear outstanding ensembles from across the world, engaging in a true cross-cultural exchange.
In June 2018, ESYO collaborated with groups around the Capital Region to bring the collaborative creativity of more than 400 young musicians, singers, dancers, poets and visual artists to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. It was a fantastic event that included performances by the Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers from the Onondaga Nation, and local Native American author and storyteller, Joseph Bruchac.
In June of 2016, ESYO Youth Orchestra traveled to Portugal, spending a day and a half in Torres Novas where a special Fourth of July BBQ was shared with the members of Orquestra Academica do Medio Tejo. The Youth Orchestra engaged in workshops with the Orquestra, and finally presented a concert to benefit this fledgling youth orchestra program. The final concert of the tour was shared with the Orquestra Sinfonica Juvenil, a premier youth orchestra in Lisbon.
In June of 2012, ESYO embarked on a first ever rour to Asia, performing several concerts in both China and Korea.
In 2008, ESYO Youth Orchestra performed concerts in historic halls in Eisenach and Ilmenau, Germany; Salzburg, Austria; and Prague, Czech Republic. Two of the four concerts were benefits: proceeds from the Eisenach concert benefited the Deutsche Epilepsievereinigung (German Epilepsy Association); in Salzburg, the proceeds were donated to the Salzburger Hilfswerk, a local organization that provides a wide range of services including meals on wheels for seniors, support in nursing homes, day care centers, counseling and education programs for families, youth programs, and emergency contact services.
While in Ilmenau, ESYO musicians met and performed with members of a German youth orchestra.
During the tour, the orchestra gave the German, Austrian, and Czech national premieres of A Bridge to Understanding, by composer and Juilliard professor Samuel Adler. The piece, which was commissioned by ESYO, had its world premiere when the Youth Orchestra performed it during ESYO’s March New Music Festival at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Dr. Adler traveled with the Youth Orchestra on the European Tour.