NYO Canada 2016

A side street in the Alfama district of Lisbon.  Much less crowded than the downtown core!

This past summer I had the opportunity to be a part of in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.  The orchestra’s training session was at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, beginning with a two-week chamber music program, and then three weeks of sectionals and tutti rehearsals.  Musicians were selected from all over Canada – NYO Canada is great for networking!  This was my fourth time participating in the program, but this time was especially exciting since this summer the orchestra travelled to Portugal!

The orchestra was in Portugal for two weeks as part of Lisbon Music Fest, a new international youth music festival.  We were based in Lisbon, but we also able to travel around to other smaller cities in the region for performing and sight-seeing, including Coimbra, Sintra, and Évora, among others.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous during our time there; it was very hot and sunny, but the heat was much more bearable than here in Ontario since there was almost no humidity.  I’ve never seen such a blue sky!

Praça de Comércio (Commerce Square), Lisbon

We had the opportunity to perform in some incredible and unique venues.  One of our orchestra concerts took place in the ruins of the the Carmo Convent in downtown Lisbon. The convent and cathedral were mostly destroyed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, but its walls are still standing.  Today, the ruins house an archeological museum.

Ruins of the Carmo Convent.

I was also in two chamber music groups at NYO Canada this year.  I was in a string quartet that performed Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 3, as well as a group of eight string players that played Mendelssohn’s Octet, Op. 20.  Besides the orchestra concerts, there were also chamber music concerts at Lisbon Music Fest.  Both of my chamber groups were selected to perform at these concerts, which took place at various palaces and museums around the city.

Pálácio Conde D’Óbidos, where we played Mendelssohn’s Octet.
Pálácio da Ajuda, where we performed our Beethoven quartet.

I was very grateful for this opportunity to perform and travel with one of the best orchestral training programs in Canada.  It is certainly an experience that I won’t soon forget!  Here are a few more photos from our tour:

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