SYO Artistic Principles

We empower young people as creatives and expose them to new creative practice, composition and space

SYO wants to instil a forward-looking mindset on the new generation of 21st-century orchestral players; not just as concert hall-based custodians of ‘heritage’ culture, but as purveyors of new thoughts in music and the business of music-making, and of the orchestral culture as a unique demonstrator of social cohesion. We want the SYO experience to be one of proactive consideration of the challenges posed by new media and consequent changing
audience behaviours upon ‘classical’ music – challenges that the players themselves are demographically equipped to solve. We want to foster a dedication to contemporary music, an awareness of different orchestral styles and aesthetics, relationships with living composers, a curiosity about the creative process. We want our players to explore options in matching music to its ‘living’ space – different venues and presentation formats. We want our players to feel the tradition is theirs for the taking and re-making.

We preserve and acknowledge the importance of the classical canon and young people having the opportunity to present works with an informed sense of style

SYO embraces performance excellence: a high technical standard of execution, plus a flexibility of response developed through exposure to a succession of conductors and soloists during the players’ progression through the organisation. We believe that the 21st-century player must be equally adept at playing Baroque, Classical-era, Romantic and contemporary music with correct requisite technique (there is no ‘one style fits all’ approach that is any longer credible in instrumental practice as was the case in the previous century). We seek to develop this expertise through masterclasses and performance situations with noted specialist practitioners, and by providing ‘breakout’ situations with smaller chamber and ensemble music workshops, plus the opportunity to graduate to the newly-formed SYCE (Sydney Youth Chamber Ensemble).

Embrace partnerships as the facilitator of a dynamic dialogue between art forms, artists and young people

SYO sees the example of the orchestral situation as the cauldron for the future development of the artform, and that responsiveness to others can be extended into any number of creative, cross-genre and pedagogical situations. We believe that exposure to a youth orchestra can have a cathartic effect on young audiences in particular; that the power of collaboration as demonstrated can influence listeners on both an individual and societal level. We want our players to work in any number of collaborative ventures: stage (ballet and opera), in tandem with contemporary music ensembles, and in emerging multi-media projects – as well as the hugely productive experience of learning from each other.

We expose young people to differing perspectives through repertory, touring and cross-cultural collaboration

Having achieved a consistent high level of performance (maximised at every stage of the young player’s development through the SYO ensemble ‘chain’), we believe that players are entitled to test their abilities and mindset through exposure to others in other places, other
disciplines, other genres, and other audiences, and to reflect on their SYO experience as the beginning of a lifelong process of learning. We seek to teach that there is no base that can be ‘home’ for long, and that proselytising music in new, different situations is one of the most important missions of the performing artist, that an effective musician is primarily an effective communicator, and that the benefits of this approach will have significant consequences on every aspect of the player’s personal and professional life in whichever direction they choose. We want our players to engage with the broadest canon of music possible, and to take it to other neighbourhoods, regions, cultures and countries through touring and collaboration.