El Camino Youth Symphony (ECYS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1963 by William Galbraith, a young maestro who envisioned an orchestra that would give young musicians the opportunity to perform challenging standard professional repertoire.
Galbraith began his career as a violinist and received his degree in
music from San Jose State College where he served as concertmaster from
1960-66. At the age of 21, Galbraith founded the El Camino Youth
Subsequent Music Directors include: Denis de Couteau (1969), Nelson Tandoc (1970-1974), Dr. Arthur Barnes (1975-1986), Leroy Kromm (1987-1988), Charles Barber (1989-1990), Melissa McBride (1991-1993), and Dr. Camilla Kolchinsky (1994-2014). The current Music Director is Dr. Jindong Cai.
In1965, Robert Sayre, principal cellist with the San Francisco Symphony (1963-1976), became one of the first professional musicians to perform with ECYS. He performed Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D Major.
Since then, ECYS has continued to invite artists of international stature to perform as guest soloists with the Senior Symphony. In 2013, the 50thAnniversary Season, ECYS welcomed two-time Grammy-nominated violinist Philippe Quint, Juilliard-trained pianist and winner of the 2007 Chopin Prize Naomi Kudo, and Principal Trumpet of the Canadian Brass Brandon Ridenour. Quint, in his second performance with ECYS performed the Bruch Violin Concerto. Ms. Kudo and Mr. Ridenour performed Shostakovich's Concerto for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra.
|Dr. Camilla Kolchinsky served as Music Director for twenty seasons, as well as conductor of the Senior Symphony, Sinfonietta Orchestra, and Galbraith Honor Strings. She passed away in 2016 at the age of 84. Read about her incredible life at her website.
Recent guests have included:
2017: David Kim, Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto
2016: Jon Nakamatsu, Grieg Piano Concerto
2015: Sandra Shen De Falla Noches en los Jardines España, and Chen Zhao Sarasate Navarra for Two Violins
2014: Ilya Yakushev, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1
2013: Philippe Quint, Bruch Violin Concerto and Naomi Kudo and Brandon Ridenour, Shostakovich Concerto for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra
2012: Zuill Bailey, Dvorak Cello Concerto
2011: David Kim, Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
2010: Claire Huangci, Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 2
2009: Michelle Kim, Assistant Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, and cellist Sumire Kudo, Brahms Double Concerto
2008: Martin Chalifour, Principal Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.
2006: David Kim, Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Bruch Scottish Fantasy
2006: Robert Chen, Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Brahms Violin Concerto
2005: Rueibin Chen, Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1
2004: Jon Nakamatsu, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1
2003: Alexander Barantshik, Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1
2002: Jon Nakamatsu, Liszt Piano Concerto No. 2 and Dr. Michail Gelfandbein, Bruch Kol Nidrei
2001: Vladamir Viardo, Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
2000: Bin Huang and Inna Nassidze, Brahms Double Concerto
1996: Philippe Quint, Paganini Violin Concerto
Concerts tours, retreats, participation in music festivals and exchanges with other youth orchestras are a vital part of the ECYS experience.
The Senior Symphony participated in the 1987 World of Music Festival in Hawaii, and were honored to be the first ensemble from California to participate in the Carnegie Hall American Youth Debut Series in 1989.
In January of 2012, The Senior Symphony debuted at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco as a part of the Bay of Hope Festival.
2015 marked the anniversary of the birth of Finland's great composer Jean Sibelius. To celebrate the composer's 150th Jubilee, ECYS presented an all-Sibelius program featuring stunning Finnish violinist Minna Pensola, sponsored by grants from the Finlandia Foundation and Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.