In 2015, Carnegie Hall commissioned Chinese composer Tan Dun to write a new piece for NYO-USA’s tour of China. With the goal of combining the ancient with the modern, Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds incorporates recordings of bird songs on Chinese traditional instruments played back on the smartphones of the musicians’ and selected audience members. Throughout the piece, the orchestra emulates the sounds of birds, the wind, and the ocean. Performed by the next generation of musicians, Tan Dun's piece honors both mankind’s ancient desire to communicate with nature and the optimism for the future embodied by the players of NYO-USA.
Each summer, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute brings together the brightest young musicians from across the country (ages 16–19) to form the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA). In 2015, following a two-week training residency with leading professional orchestra musicians, these remarkable teenagers were joined by conductor Charles Dutoit and pianist YUNDI for a seven-city tour of China. To learn more about NYO-USA, visit carnegiehall.org/nyousa.