At the end of the concluding work in the inspiring concert by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday night, the conductor David Robertson spoke to the audience about the “irrepressible enthusiasm and energy” of the young players, ages 16 to 19, in this select ensemble. Even after a concert lasting two and a half hours, a program that opened with a fresh, urgent account of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story” and ended with a weighty, richly characterized performance of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” these eager players looked ready for more.
Mr. Robertson announced that the orchestra had prepared a few encores and then led a bracing performance of a short orchestra suite from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.”
This concert was a milestone for the National Youth Orchestra. From the start, the creation of this ensemble was a Carnegie Hall venture, supported by the Weill Music Institute. The program, which began last summer, recruits outstanding high school players from across America, brings them together for several weeks of training and rehearsal and then takes a concert program on tour. Last summer, Carnegie Hall was undergoing renovations. So the orchestra made its debut at Purchase College, under the conductor Valery Gergiev, and went on a tour that included stops in Moscow, St. Petersburg and London.
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