Young People’s Symphony to perform on Jan. 27

In an inaugural moment for the local music scene, two of Berkeley’s long-standing musical institutions, the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra and the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, are set to collaborate in performance. This unique musical convergence will take place during YPSO’s upcoming Winter Concert on Jan. 27, 2024, at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church.

This program features works spanning three different centuries. Young musicians will perform Kenji Bunch’s Supermaximum, the first movement of Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3, featuring soloist Henry Stroud (winner of this year’s YPSO concerto competition), and Poulenc’s Gloria in collaboration with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, featuring soprano soloist Vuyiswa Sigadi.

The concert opens with American composer, Kenji Bunch’s Supermaximum — a contemporary composition that explores themes of resilience and determination. According to the composer, “this body of work serves as a singular example of a group of oppressed people resorting to, of all things, art for spiritual and, at times, physical survival under the most needlessly cruel of circumstances.” Bunch draws inspiration from the real-life experiences of individuals facing extraordinary challenges, creating a musical narrative that speaks to the strength of the human spirit.

Following this, YPSO will perform the first movement of Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 61. According to program notes writer, Orrin Howard, the violin concerto’s “first movement evolves around a bold, dramatic first theme, a songful contrasting theme, and fistsful of rapid scales, arpeggios, and double stops.” This piece will feature Henry Stroud, YPSO concertmaster, sophomore at Berkeley High, and the winner of this season’s YPSO concerto competition.

Closing the program is Poulenc’s Gloria, a choral and orchestral masterpiece that reflects the composer’s unique blend of sacred and secular influences. Poulenc’s Gloria is a joyous and vibrant work, featuring lush harmonies and intricate textures. YPSO is collaborating on this piece with fellow long-standing Berkeley music organization, BCCO (Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra) led by Ming Luke, Music Director.

Young People’s Symphony Orchestra | Winter Concert 2024

  • Supermaximum by K. Bunch (2013)
  • Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor Op. 61, Mvt. 1 by C.Saint-Saëns (1880)
  • Gloria by F. Poulenc (1959)

Where: Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave., Walnut Creek
When: Saturday, Jan 27, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 General | Students Free (must register at ticket site)
Box Office:
(510) 849-9776
Concert info:
Venue Info:

YPSO proudly continues its 87th season, with Maestro David Ramadanoff celebrating an impressive 35 years as Music Director/Conductor. Leading a talented ensemble of 100 young musicians, aged 11 to 21, from cities spanning the Bay Area – from Napa in the north to Pleasanton in the south – Maestro Ramadanoff continues to inspire and guide the orchestra towards new heights.

In a season brimming with activity, YPSO is performing the second of four subscription concerts, showcasing its talents at the Bay Area Youth Orchestra Festival at Davies Symphony Hall, and embarking on a 9-day, 3-concert summer tour to Japan in June 2024. To continue this exciting season, YPSO’s Winter Concert will be held on January 27, 2024, at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church.

About BCCO

The Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra (BCCO), a non-audition chorus which offers free concerts of choral masterworks twice a year, is one of the oldest and largest choruses in the Bay Area.

BCCO began in 1966 as a Berkeley Adult School course by Eugene Jones and was founded on the principle that everyone should be able to enjoy hearing and performing great music. In 1988 under Arlene Sagan, BCCO expanded its mission to include outreach programs at senior homes and local composer competitions. BCCO continues to flourish under current music director Ming Luke, whose initiatives have included a conductor mentoring program, an emerging composer competition, and BCCO European tours.

About YPSO

YPSO’s Music Director, David Ramadanoff, has always been thoughtful about selecting music programs that are able to showcase the diversity of talent in the entire orchestra, and he continues this tradition here. YPSO students engage in a wide range of orchestral music works spanning multiple musical eras and with composers from various backgrounds.Founded in Berkeley in 1936, YPSO is the oldest youth orchestra in California and the first independent youth orchestra in the nation. The 2023-24 season is the 87th since violinist and conductor Jessica Marcelli founded YSPO at the suggestion of Clarabelle Bell, an amateur harpist and Berkeley resident, who got the idea after hearing the Portland Junior Symphony.

YPSO’s mission is to “encourage young people to become exemplary musicians and young musicians to become exemplary people”. The organization puts on four regular concerts per season. In addition, they reach out through programs such as Bread and Roses and the Bay Area Music Project to bring music into the lives of the surrounding community and encourage the civic development of its students. YPSO will also host a free open dress rehearsal program on Friday Jan 26, 2024, 6 p.m. for families with young children, elementary/middle school classes accompanied by a teacher, and senior citizens. Contact YPSO to make arrangements at

New starting this season, YPSO offers free admission to:

  • youth 13 and under accompanied by an adult
  • High School and College Students with valid ID

YPSO asks that all concert goers, including students, to please register on their ticket site, even if some tickets are free, in order to maintain appropriate seating capacity counts. YPSO is funded in part by the Berkeley Civic Arts Grant, Kiwanis Club of Berkeley, Alameda County Arts Commission, individual and foundation donors, and the friends and families of YPSO students.

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