中华青少年交响乐团（NYO-China），可能并不是一个传统的大学生创业项目（可能因为不是开发以字母“r”结尾的手机应用程序），但它也有着与其他初创公司相似的诞生故事。某晚，难以克服拖延症的我，面对马上要交的论文作业，开始和室友尼克（Nick Brown）聊天。对话中尼克聊到他的高中同学曾经参加过一个非常有意义的音乐项目——美国国家青少年交响乐团（NYO-USA）。我对卡内基音乐厅的这个项目有所耳闻，自己的朋友也曾是这个乐团的成员。但通过尼克的详细介绍，我更加深入了解到这个项目为年轻音乐家提供的独一无二的机会。乐团成员不仅能够和同龄人在最负盛名的音乐厅表演，还有机会和当今世界最著名的古典音乐家合作。尼克还告诉我其实“NYO”是一个“全球连锁”项目，现在世界上30多个国家都有属于自己国家的青少年交响乐团。但当我们浏览世界各地NYO名单列表时，却怎么也找不到“中国”的名字。我和尼克都很吃惊，特别是在中国年轻的音乐家在世界各地崭露头角的今天，怎么也没想到这个名单上竟然少了“中国”。经过思考和讨论，我们认为如果将NYO带到中国，一定会创造一个历史性的青少年交响乐团。好友佩奇（Paige Breen），一位极具天赋的长笛手，在我和尼克的邀请下加入了团队。终于，在耶鲁食堂的晚饭时间，有三个年轻人开始讨论他们将要做的大事——NYO-China。
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A Message from the Managing Director
If you ever happen to find yourself having dinner at one of Yale’s 12 undergraduate dining halls, it probably won’t be long until you overhear a student talking to his or her classmates about some nascent ambition to create the next big thing. Sometimes the conversation is as simple as pointing out a problem that needs to be addressed. Other times, when a speculative product or service is proposed, friends are usually quick to rebut that a better solution already exists. But every now and then, you’ll see a group of students huddled together, formulating a business plan, assigning responsibilities and debating their new project’s logo.
Although the National Youth Orchestra of China is certainly untraditional as far as college startups go (for one, it isn’t an app that ends in “r”), its origin story follows a similar narrative. One evening and probably while procrastinating for some paper that was due, I was having a conversation with my roommate, Nick Brown, about how several of his musician friends during high school participated in an especially rewarding program named NYO-USA. I was already somewhat familiar with this, coordinated by Carnegie Hall, and some of my own friends were themselves part of past cohorts. But Nick elucidated how NYO-USA entailed a singular opportunity through which young musicians could perform with similarly skilled peers on some of most distinguished concert stages in the world and with some of the most renowned artists in classical music. He also mentioned how NYO was more of a “franchise” with similar programs in over 30 other countries. But upon pulling up a list of these NYOs throughout the world, it was a surprise to both of us that China lacked its own. This was especially unexpected given the precipitous and unrivaled rise in the country’s young classical musicians. We pondered the immense benefits that could be realized by bringing NYO to China, subsequently recruited our mutual friend and talented flautist Paige Breen, and finally began having our own huddled conservations about NYO-China over dinner in the dining hall.
There often is a lot of mythologizing that surrounds college startups, but the reality is usually much less romantic. A more accurate portrayal of NYO-China’s early days would mostly involve our strategically sending numerous emails to resolve a whole host of catch-22s; for example, it is difficult to recruit teaching artists without students and recruit students without teaching artists. But upon graduation and throughout the next year, we worked through each of these hurdles and are now looking forward to seeing all of these moving parts come together this July. Truth be told, reaching each of our major milestones typically felt somewhat unreal—most recently confirming our inaugural class of 105 remarkable teenage musicians. I expect that this feeling will not go away until the conclusion of our last performance. And once the final note is played, perhaps we will finally be at ease to celebrate, to reflect on lessons learned and to promptly get to work on NYO-China 2018.
Vincent Accettola is a founder and managing director of NYO-China.
Tickets for the inaugural concert at Carnegie Hall are now available here.