Another Wonderful Weekend of Winter Concerts are in the Books

We are so proud of every student who performed in our winter concerts at UDC earlier this month! Ten ensembles, from our Debut Orchestra to our 91-member Youth Orchestra, played their hearts out on the Theater of the Arts stage for nearly 1,250 enthusiastic attendees. Among the highlights of the concert performances included the world premiere  by the Youth Orchestra of WONDER by Allison Loggins-Hull, the final K-12 New Music Project commission that was generously supported by our partners at the National Orchestral Institute + Festival and the League of American Orchestras. The Youth Orchestra opened the final winter concert with a beautiful performance of “Nimrod” from Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations in tribute to founder Lyn McLain.

We look forward to sharing concert videos with you on our YouTube channel in early January! In the meantime, see what some of our students, faculty and staff are most looking forward to during the upcoming winter break. See you in 2024!




Get to Know DCYOP – Richard Bradford

For our last edition of Get to Know DCYOP for 2023, we want to introduce you to one of our beginner ensemble students, cellist Richard Bradford. Richard started cello with us last school year and joined his first ensemble, the Debut Orchestra, this year. A multitalented musician, actor, and singer, Richard most recently made his Folger Theater debut in this fall’s production of The Winter’s Tale, and recorded a television pilot last summer. Read on to learn more about Richard’s passion for music and his plans for his bright future.


How old are you? What grade are you in and where do you go to school?
I am 8 years old and I am a fourth grader at John Lewis Elementary School

How long have you been studying the cello? What made you choose it?
I have been studying the cello for about a year now.

I didn’t choose the cello, my mom did. But now I wish I had known about it before. The cello is a cool instrument to play, and it has a nice tone, so it is also really nice to listen to.

What has been the hardest thing about learning the cello? What has been the most fun thing about learning the cello?

I’m not basing this on how I feel now, but in beginner A, I was actually having trouble with figuring out my hand posture. Basses are very lucky because they have two professional hand postures to use. The cello only has one.

I have to say that the most fun thing has been doing the eighth notes for Two German Folk Songs because I get to play a lot of notes and I like the tune of it.

How long have you been in DCYOP? What ensemble are you in currently?
I have been in DCYOP for a year! First, I was in the beginner A class and then I moved to the Debut Orchestra. My mom signed me up for the DCYOP before I knew anything about the amazing cello!

What do you like most about DCYOP?
I loooooove the fact that in DCYOP, there are all these different instruments playing and we have all these different parts and I like the fact that the music comes together well.

Do you have any musical goals that you would like to tell us about?
Singer-songwriter and dancer, that’s me. I just want to do those along with my acting career.

Do you have a favorite musician or composer (does not have to be classical!) that you like to listen to?
No, actually! I love a LOT of different artists. But I can’t say any one is my favorite. Including Billy Joel, Prince, Michael Jackson, Kenny Loggins and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

What do you like to do outside of music?
I like writing songs and singing, plus reading. I love to act and have fun too!


Get to Know DCYOP – Tim Provost

Meet the newest member of the DCYOP administrative team: Tim Provost! Tim is our new Program Manager but is no stranger to DCYOP. An alum of the program and former teaching artist, Tim is a natural fit for his new role on the program team.  Read on to learn more about Tim’s interests, his favorite DC spots, and how DCYOP has impacted his life.


Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hyattsville, Maryland in Prince George’s County!

 How did you get started in music and what kind of work did you do prior to joining the DCYOP team?
My primary instrument is the upright bass, which I started playing in my elementary school’s orchestra in 4th grade. I went to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and majored in Music Education. Before my work with DCYOP, I taught for various music programs around Baltimore City including the Bridges Music Program and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program. I also gigged as a bassist, gave private lessons, and worked as a substitute teacher for Baltimore County public schools. Over the years, I’ve collected many more string instruments and learned to play them (probably too many), but it all started with the bass. I don’t get to play the bass as much as I used to, but I still try to play an instrument every day. Playing the DCYOP’s upper orchestra bass sections recently has been really great for me musically!

What do you do at DCYOP in your new role and what are your general responsibilities?
My new role at DCYOP (which I am incredibly excited about!) is Program Manager. In this role, I work with DCYOP teachers and staff  to put together schedules, set up classrooms/rehearsal spaces, assist with events, and facilitate after-school programming. I get to work with practically everyone in the program, which is fantastic!

What was your path to DCYOP? Why did you decide you wanted to work here?
My time with DCYOP started when I was still in high school. I was advised by all of my music teachers (and even a few complete strangers who I met while playing bass) that the program was amazing and that I should join. Then, after graduating college, I reconnected with the program as a teacher.

Seeing the program both as a student and teacher helped me appreciate just how much good the DCYOP does through music. The DCYOP team is incredibly dedicated to helping students across the region grow both as musicians and as people. I am very passionate about this kind of education, and I am honored to be a part of the program’s work.

What is one of your favorite DCYOP memories as a student?
There are so many! Of all of them, I think getting to travel to Italy with the orchestra was probably the best. I had never been out of the country or on a plane before that trip, so the opportunity to travel was life-changing in and of itself. Being able to play music while traveling made it even more meaningful, and I will remember that experience for the rest of my life.

Who is one of your favorite performers? Why?
I really love watching Chris Thile play. He’s what inspired me to start playing mandolin, and his live performances always leave me stunned. I’ve never seen somebody as in-control of their instrument as he is. I’ve been lucky enough to see him live twice at Wolf Trap, and both times were incredible.

What is one of your favorite pieces of music? Why?
The piece that comes to mind for me is Mahler’s Second Symphony. It’s a gigantic piece scored for a huge orchestra, including a choir at one point, and it’s completely over-the-top. Every movement is intense and emotional in one way or another. The bass parts are also excellent, which helps! I got to play this piece with my local community orchestra when I was 16 and it knocked me off my feet with both its beauty and its intense difficulty. I’ve loved it ever since.

What are your interests outside of music?
I honestly spend most of my free time either playing music or looking up instruments, so it’s always hard for me to think of other hobbies! I love to read and play with my pets, and my wife and I like to cook together. I also play video games whenever I have a bit of extra free time. I’ve been a huge Nintendo fan for as long as I can remember.

What is your favorite place in DC?
The Smithsonian museums are always incredible to me. My parents would take me to see them most years for my birthday and I never get tired of them. The Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are also a favorite of mine. It’s a great park and is gorgeous in full bloom.