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Boston Youth Orchestra Chosen For World Premier Of 9/11 Music04:47

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The Youth Philharmonic Orchestra rehearses "Illuminessence." (Delores Handy/WBUR)
The Youth Philharmonic Orchestra rehearses "Illuminessence." (Delores Handy/WBUR)

The New England Conservatory's Youth Philharmonic Orchestra features some of the region's most talented young musicians. The youngest is just 11 years old. The oldest, 18.

"After the catastrophe [of the Sept. 11 attacks] happened 10 years ago, the result was that it divided us," said Benjamin Zander, conductor of the orchestra.

On Sunday, the young musicians will be performing the world premier of "Illuminessence", an interfaith oratorio by Italian composer Silvio Amato. The piece was commissioned by the Vatican as a reflection of the growing concern over rising tensions between the world's three Abrahamic religions.

"Illuminessence" weaves together prayers from Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

"That young people are sending this message is great," said Amato. "The new generation are the ones that have to deal in the future with these problems."

Zander believes the music is even more powerful when played by children in the youth orchestra. "Because most of these children weren't conscious on 9/11," he said. "The 11-year-olds were barely born. So they experience [9/11] not only as a historical event, but one which they know touches deeply the hearts of everybody in the audience."

Radio Boston visited rehearsals at New England Conservatory, in advance of the Youth Philharmonic's September 11th premier of "Illuminessence."



This segment aired on September 8, 2011.

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