A cocktail party hosted by Ronald Perelman of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings fame celebrated the opening of Carnegie Hall’s 2013 National Youth Orchestra program last week. Carnegie’s Weill Music Institute brings together each year 120 of “the brightest young players across the country” to create the orchestra, and together they tour some of the world’s greatest music capitals. This year is the program’s inaugural year, and performances are scheduled in Washington, DC, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and London.

NYO-USA includes students from 42 states

NYO-USA includes students from 42 states
Image: Carnegie Hall

To last week’s celebration were invited local teens from NYC who had the honor of being in the orchestra this year. A short performance by award-winning violinist Joshua Bell was part of the night as well, in hopes that more funds and awareness could be raised for the NYO.

Students got to meet with MoMA’s Marie-Josee Kravis and her business mogul husband Henry Kravis, Ghislaine Maxwell, Michael Ovitz, Tamara Mellon, and more.  Clive Gillinson, who is the executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall says he believes music holds true political power.

Britain's National Youth Orchestra

Britain’s National Youth Orchestra
Image: Gary Calton for the Observer

“When I was in Moscow, I saw the American ambassador, and he said, ‘This orchestra can do more than any treaty,’” he recalled. “There’s no politics. It’s really a gift of friendship.”

Each year, Gillinson plans to have the NYO visit different countries across the world. “These kind of orchestras exist in most countries,” he said. “I can’t understand why it never existed here.”

Major donors to the NYO-USA include the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation and Marina Kellen French; Ronald O. Perelman; and Joan and Stanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation. The 2013 inaugural tour is supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation; Yoko Nagaie Ceschina; the Rockefeller Foundation; the Peter J. Sharp Foundation; and Ann Ziff.