The Asian Youth Orchestra

The Asian Youth Orchestra was set up in 1987, the brainchild of conductor and teacher, Richard Pontzious. His goal was to create an orchestra that would unite the region and celebrate the excellence of young Asian musicians. Backed by the distinguished violinist Yehudi Menhuin, the orchestra played its first concert in 1990. Since then, it has given more than 350 performances in some of the world’s top venues, reaching over a million concertgoers. And it has become what the San Francisco Chronicle describes as the “finest among youth orchestras around the world”.

Over the years, more than 20,000 young musicians from countries as far apart as South Korea and Indonesia have auditioned for the Asian Youth Orchestra. Those who are selected spend three weeks of the summer in Hong Kong studying with an outstanding faculty of professional musicians. This rehearsal camp is followed by a three-week concert tour accompanied by leading soloists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Gidon Kremer.

In 2015, the orchestra celebrated its 25th anniversary with Richard Pontzious still at the helm as artistic director. The principal conductor is James Judd, and the conductor laureate is Sergiu Comissiona.