Tour History

Overseas concert tours have attracted audiences in more than 20 countries on five continents and established the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra as one of the premier youth ensembles in the world. Over the years, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra has served as a cultural ambassador from the City of Philadelphia as it travels throughout the world to promote the ideals of international peace and harmony through music.

2007 • Brazil

  • A Bon Voyage Concert at the Union League of Philadelphia.
  • Sold out concerts in the Municipal Theaters of Sao Jose dos Campos, Petropolis, and Rio de Janeiro.
  • Tour of Corcovado and cable car ride to Sugar Loaf Mountain.
  • Performance with Brazilian pianist, Sylvia Thereza.
  • Tour of Paraty, a preserved Portuguese colonial and Brazilian Imperial town.
  • Sharing American and Brazilian music & dance with student musicians at a Samba School in a favela of Rio de Janeiro.

2004 • Eastern and Central Europe

  • A Bon Voyage Concert at The Union League of Philadelphia.
  • Tour of Lazienki Park and Castle Square in Warsaw, Poland.
  • Concert in Musical Theater Roma in Warsaw.
  • Concert in Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall in Crakow.
  • Somber tour of Auschwitz and Birkenau
  • Concert in Liszt Ferenc Academy in Budapest.
  • Tour of Schönbrunn Palace, State Opera House and St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna.
  • Concert at Radio Symphony Hall in Vienna.
  • Walking tour of Salzburg to visit Mozart’s birthplace.
  • Concert in the Mozarteum Grand Hall, Salzburg.
  • Final concert in the Dvorak Hall, Rudolfinum in Prague.

2002 • China

  • Meandering through the YuYuan Garden with its 30 pavilions linked by a maze of corridors and bridges over ponds.
  • Relaxing in the gondolas of Zhouzhang, a city built on canals like Venice and touring houses from the Ming dynasty.
  • Climbing 320 meters of steps on the Purple Mountain to the Mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat Sen in Nanjing.
  • Enjoying the warm acoustics of the concert hall in Tianjin, Philadelphia’s Sister City, and watching the children playing in the plaza in front at 10 o’clock at night.
  • Eating delicious dumplings and learning to play the Erh-Hu.
  • Walking through the Forbidden City one day and climbing The Great Wall another.
  • Bringing the audience to its feet at every concert with the encore "Good news comes from the countryside to Beijing" after Schubert’s 9th Symphony.

2000 • Czech Republic & Italy

  • A bon voyage concert at The Union League of Philadelphia.
  • Standing ovation at Dvorák Hall in Prague, home of the Czech Philharmonic, followed by a dinner cruise on the Moldau.
  • Exploring nearly every corner of Prague’s Old City—from the Jewish Quarter to Prague Castle, Charles Bridge to Bertramka, the villa where Mozart wrote Don Giovanni—gathering each evening under the famous Astrological Clock.
  • Enjoying Ceske Budejovice’s 600th anniversary celebration, complete with medieval figures on horseback and in coaches.
  • Performing in a Roman amphitheatre in Fiesole; a fortress courtyard in Comune di Novellara near Reggio nell’Emilia; Isola Tiberina, an island in the middle of the Tiber River; and a monastery courtyard in Quercia at the Sanctuary of the Madonna while the final game of the World Cup was gripping the attention of Italy.
  • Visiting the Uffizi, the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and Michaelangelo’s David in Florence, and sampling much gelato.
  • Downpours in Parma and on the last evening in Prague that were followed by double rainbows.

1998 • Russia

  • Representing the U.S. at World Youth Music Forum in Moscow, a "13-day marathon of performances" involving nine youth orchestras, including the American-Russian Youth Orchestra and the youth orchestras of Beijing, Cambridge, Cairo, Israel, South Africa, Vancouver, and Vienna.
  • Performing to standing ovations in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory of Music and at Philharmonic Hall in Yaroslavl.
  • Joining 900 other young musicians on Red Square to play as the "Orchestra of the World" under Valery Gergiev, Artistic Director of St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre.

1996 • Central Europe & Jordan

  • A bon voyage concert from the PYO Center in the historic Packard Building.
  • Standing ovations at the famous Franz Liszt Academy of Budapest, the RTV Concert Hall of Bratislava, Prague’s Rudolfinum and the Old Rathaus of Brno.
  • A sudden storm canceling a concert with Voices of China at Vienna’s Klangbogen Summer Festival.
  • Invited by Her Majesty Queen Noor to perform in the ancient amphitheatre at the International Jerash Music Festival in celebration of King Hussein’s birthday.
  • A concert at Prince Abdoullah Bin Al Hussein Square in Amman.
  • Sharing American and Arabian music with musicians at Jordan’s National Music Conservatory, participating with them in masterclasses, readings, and rehearsals, and collaborative performances with the Jordanian Military Orchestra.

1994 • Jordan, Israel, & Spain

  • A televised bon voyage concert from the Grand Court of John Wanamaker.
  • A Royal Performance at the Philadelphia Hotel in Amman as official guests of Her Majesty Queen Noor in Jordan.
  • Providing chamber music on the 4th of July at the U.S. Embassy in Amman.
  • New music readings with students of Jordan’s National Music Conservatory.
  • Walking the Roman ruins of Jerash and the ancient city of Petra.
  • Crossing the Al Husseini/Allenby Bridge into Israel a week ahead of the historic rapprochement with Jordan, for concerts with cellist Mark Drobinsky as soloist at the Gera Behar Center, Kfar Sava, Kfar Menachem, Noga Theater, Kibbutz Kabri, and Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem.
  • A televised performance at Spain’s Valencia International Youth Orchestra Festival, with additional concerts in a casino on Ibiza and in the old city of Cuenca, a renaissance courtyard in Cocentaina, and Parque Sama near Barcelona.
  • A midnight finale in a castle at Tossa del Mar on the Mediterranean, with cathedral bells joining in.

1993 • England & Wales

  • A bon voyage concert televised from the Grand Court of John Wanamaker.
  • Standing ovations at the Leeds Summer Heritage Festival, the Bournemouth Music Makers Festival, and the Ely Festival in Cardiff,Wales.
  • Concerts at the Civic Center in Stratford-upon-Avon, Fairfield Halls in Croydon, and the Bath Pavilion.
  • Providing workshops to students at St. Gregory’s School in Bath and staying with local families.

1991 • Switzerland & France

  • Celebrating the 700th anniversary of the founding of Switzerland.
  • Performing at a festival with the Swiss Youth Symphony, the Leningrad Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, the Riga Chamber Choir, and the German State Youth Symphony Orchestra.
  • Touring with French soloists under the auspices of the Sophia-Antipolis Foundation, with performances in Nice, Courchevel, Aix-les-Bains, and St. Maximin.

1989 • East & West Germany

  • Touring East and West Germany weeks before the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
  • Performances in Oldenburg, Bad Salzuflen,West and East Berlin, and Bad Reichenhall.
  • An invitation to perform at the home of the Berlin Philharmonic and to close the season in East Berlin at the famous Schauspielhaus.

1987 • South America

  • A bon voyage concert on Independence Mall as part of the "We the People 200."
  • Performances in the world-renowned Teatro Colón and Teatro Coliseo in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Teatro Solís in Montevideo, Uruguay; the Sociedade de Cultura Artistica in São Paolo,Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, and Teatro Castro Alves in Salvador Bahia, Brazil.
  • Featured concerts on television and radio.
  • Participating in a variety of events with local young musicians.
  • A visit to Bahia, Pennsylvania’s partner state.
  • Sponsorship by the City of Philadelphia, the State of Pennsylvania, the Partners of the Americas, and Jeunesses Musicales.

1985 • China

  • An invitation from the People’s Republic of China for seven concerts in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Tianjin.
  • Sponsorship and financing of the Tianjin concerts by the City of Philadelphia as part of a cultural exchange.
  • Workshops conducted by China’s leading music conservatories.
  • A concluding concert at the Hong Kong International Youth Arts Festival.

1983 • The British Isles

  • The first non-British youth orchestra to present the opening concert of the Edinburgh International Music Festival.
  • Touring England and Wales, with concerts in the Shrewsbury Music Hall, Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall, Scarborough Spa, and London’s Southwark Cathedral.

1981 • Australia

  • Representing the United States for the first time at the Australian International Youth Music Festival of Melbourne.
  • Performing in the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Australia, Dallas Brooks Hall, and Nellie Melba Hall in Melbourne; Founders Hall at Ballarat College of Advanced Education; Arts Victoria Music ’81 in Bendigo; and the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney.


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