History of WYCO

The Washington Youth Chamber Orchestra is an exemplary ensemble of young advanced string soloists, the first and only chamber group of its kind in the Washington Metro area. The goal of the group is for young musicians to get an intense orchestral training through a wide range of music written for chamber orchestra-from Vivaldi and Bach to Arensky and Shostakovich

Young musicians are encouraged to perform solo works with the group, so its repertoire also includes many concertos. Each season this opportunity is given to five or more members of the WYCO.

Rotation of players is based on conductor-free "Orpheus-type" principal of chamber ensemble performance.

Joining the WYCO will help the young musician’s sensitivity, intonation, rhythm, music reading, understanding of the orchestral score, and will immensely improve skills in leading the group as well as being part of the group.

Since its foundation in September 2001 at the Levine School of Music the group (then called the Levine String Virtuosi) presented concerts at Pope John Paul II Cultural Center of the Catholic University, Polish and Dutch Embassies, Historic Georgetown Club, Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater.

In the summer of 2002, the orchestra performed with success at the Soesterberg International Music Festival in the Netherlands and recorded a CD with several members of the ensemble featuring as soloists. In April 2003 the group had a masterclass with Maestro Leonard Slatkin, music director of the National Symphony Orchestra. The 2003-2004 season culminated in two trips to New York City, where the WYCO gave orchestral, quartet, and solo performances at the American Fine Arts Festival. Concerts took place at the Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufmann Center for the Arts, as well as Carnegie Hall. This was the result of an all-state competition for more than 300 participants.

On February 16 2005 the WYCO was part of the World Bank Tsunami Relief fundraising event performing Serenade for Strings by Tchaikovsky.

In spring 2005 Piotr Gajewski, the distinguished Music Director of the National Philharmonic Orchestra, gave the group a brilliant two-hour coaching session.

The WYCO is playing an important role in music education of the Washington Metro Area. In March 2005, the orchestra sponsored the JS Bach Music Festival. In January 2006, the orchestra organized a Festival/Competition in honor of W.A. Mozart's 250th birthday, which included masterclasses with Natalia Tolstaya (principal violist of Lyon Opera House). Both programs included concerto competitions, student performances, masterclasses, and performances of guest artists from Europe and the US. In August 2005 and August 2006, WYCO members took part in the Sulzbach-Rosenberg Music Festival in Germany.

In 2007, the orchestra hosted a competition for performances at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater and had series of coachings with Russian conductor Leonid Shulmann. Since 2007 WYCO regularly performs at the Mansion of Strathmore Music Center in Bethesda, MD.

In 2010 the orchestra presented all-Bach concert at the International Music Festival in Bavaria, Germany. The program included master class with Anca Nicolau, professor of Manhattan School of Music.

Repertoire played since WYCO was founded in Oct. 2001

Vivaldi: The Seasons, Concerto Grosso in d-min., Christmas Concerto, Concerto for viola, Concerto for 2 cellos in g-min., Sinfonia alla Rustica, Concerto for two violins, Concerto for 4 violins, Cello Concerto in a minor.
Bach: Suite no.2 in b-min. (excerpts); 7 fugues from The Art of the Fugue; Concerto for violin in a-minor; Brandenburg Concertos nos. 3, 5; Concerto for 2 pianos in C; Concerto for 2 violins; Concerto for violin and oboe; Piano concerto in f-minor.
Bach/Mozart: 3 Fugues from WTC with 3 Adagios by Mozart.
Corelli: Concerti Grossi nos. 3, 8.
Pergolesi: Stabat Mater (excerpts).
Boccherini: Cello concerto in B-flat.
Haydn: concerto for cello in C.
Haydn: concerto for violin in C.
Zelter: viola concerto (1st mvt).
Telemann: viola concerto in G.
Telemann: Suite for flute.
Mozart: 3 Divertimentos, K 136; K 137; K 138; Piano Concerto #12 in A, K 414; Concerto for violin in G major # 3, K 216; Adagio and Fugue in c minor, K 546; Sinfonia Concertante K 364; Serenata Notturna in D major, K. 239.
Arensky: Variations on the Theme by Tchaikovsky.
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings in C.
Saint-Saens: The Carnival of the Animals.
Dvorak: Serenade for strings.
Shostakovich: Two Pieces.
Mendelssohn: String Symphony in c-minor.
Rameau: Suite no. 6, The Hen.
Paganini, Prokofiev, Handel, and other pieces arranged by Aslamazian.

Janacek, Suite for Strings


The WYCO performing at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater