We drive from Brevard County every Sunday because there is no other orchestra that even begins to compare to the FYAO. With two children in four orchestra groups of FYAO, this is an all-day affair and we could not be happier. Dr. Alvaro Gomez has been an inspiration to my older daughter and she is now developing into an incredible musician because of him. He sets a very high bar and it's incredible to watch these Symphony Orchestra kids play music that is challenging to many professional orchestras. Just search for the Bravo Concert of 2014 on You Tube, where they played Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky with a level of musicianship that is rarely heard from young musicians. That's what setting a high bar with the love of music at the forefront of it all gets you.
My younger daughter has played under the baton of Sherry Pollock and her Sinfonia Orchestra and is now playing under Randall Love in Philharmonic. Ms. Pollock has been teaching Suzuki Strings in Central Florida for over 35 years and was a founding member of the FYAO who left for a few years but has returned and is taking her group of budding string musicians to new levels.
Mr. Love has been doing a phenomenal job at finding just the right level for his orchestra of middle school students, whose talents and training range a wide gamut.
This orchestra is a shell of what it was under original artistic director Jonathan May. We took our kids out of the orchestra, not only because of the revolving door of artistic staff under Alvaro Gomez (most of whom quit because of persistence of petty orchestra politics), but because of the priorities of the orchestra leadership seem to be more about ego and status than the kids and families they service. Members of the orchestra board and staff are fake, when not rude, and they are the main reason that this organization is crumbling around them. There are far better orchestras in the area with much better teachers and staff.
Review from Guidestar