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MA 30 The Innovators: Troy Peters

December 6, 2016 | By Richard S. Ginell

Music Director, Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA)

Composer/conductor Troy Peters became the music director of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio in 2009 after spending 14 years leading youth and professional orchestras in Vermont. He brought with him the experience of collaborating with rock musicians such as Phish’s Trey Anastasio and Yes’s Jon Anderson—and as such, has been freshening the YOSA repertoire with further ventures linking rock with the classics.

Peters calls this the “Classic Albums Live” series, and he does all of the orchestrations himself in collaboration with local rock groups. “That’s a big interest of mine; how can you take music of different styles and make it work in a world of orchestra,” he said in an interview with WOAI News 4 San Antonio.

Very much aware of the recent passing of several pop luminaries, Peters in November led the YOSA Philharmonic—the most advanced of the program’s nine orchestras—in a concert at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts honoring David Bowie. On the program, he coupled his own piece, “Remembering Bowie,” with Philip Glass’s paraphrase of Bowie’s “V-2 Schneider” in his Heroes Symphony, and added works by Arvo Pärt and Britten’s transcription of Purcell’s Chaconne in G minor. Next March, Peters and the YOSA Philharmonic will perform Prince’s entire Purple Rain album with local rock bands as they previously have The Beatles’s Abbey Road and Radiohead’s OK Computer.

One of YOSA’s proudest boasts is that every young musician in the program will have at least one opportunity to perform in the Tobin Center, home of the San Antonio Symphony, in the 2016-17 season. Peters also leads a venture called the YOSA Pop Up Orchestra where he takes a group of players into the community, performing arrangements of pop and rock music for chamber ensemble.

“The great thing with young musicians is that you are taking them on this journey of discovery,” Peters told WOAI. “On the one hand, they’re discovering this world of music. On the other hand, they are discovering themselves, discovering what they are capable of.”


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