Canada-India Youth Orchestra Project

Friday, June 15, 2012 marked a memorable day.  Four young musicians from India stepped off a flight at Pearson Airport to begin the remarkable partnership between musicians of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and India.

The NYOC was approached for this partnership because of our international reputation as being one of the best orchestral training institutes in the world.  The Indian musicians looked to us as a natural partner with whom to learn and grow.

“…the NYOC has become unparalleled as a training institution in Canada… It is a national treasure.” Department of Canadian Heritage 2009 Assessment

The partnership brings a myriad of benefits to NYOC to learn and collaborate well outside our normal parameters. 

“I believe these cross-cultural learning opportunities are critical to the success of our country and, indeed, the global community”. NYOC’s Honourary Patron, The Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston

Phase I                                        

Ashley Rego (violin) from Goa, Arun Rozario (violin) from Bangalore, Divya Raghunathan (viola) from Bangalore, and Bianca Mendonca (cello) from Mumbai were chosen to participate in NYOC’s 2012 program. While here they had the opportunity to study chamber music and large orchestral pieces in private classes, in sectionals and with the full orchestra; attend workshops in wellness & injury prevention training; perform in a concert tour which took them to Koerner Hall in Toronto, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and Maison Symphonique in Montreal; participate in a CD recording session at McGill University’s state-of-the-art studio.

These musicians had never had the opportunity to train under such focused conditions, with such skilled faculty and broad repertoire.  The demands and opportunities of the summer pushed and challenged them to a level they had not experienced before.  Ashley writes: “I learned new techniques that I have not been exposed to before and after completing the summer course, I experienced making music beyond the written notation.”

The students have returned to India and are charged with disseminating what they have learned to the other young musicians there.

Phase I of this project was made possible through the generous support of TD Bank which covered the entire cost of bringing the students here, and all costs while they were here. 


Phase II

Phase II takes place in May of 2013.  The NYOC has selected 32 alumni and 3 faculty members to travel to India on May 14 for an intensive 2-week training and mentoring workshop.  The Bangalore School of Music (BSM), which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012, has recruited musicians from across India to identify about 36 to participate in this program.

As members of the Canada-India Youth Orchestra, the musicians will have the unique opportunity to take part in this very special and prestigious program that will include master classes, sectionals,  private lessons and, of course, rehearsals with some of Canada and India’s finest young musicians and instructors. The project will also include an outreach program to St. Mary’s Orphanage in Bangalore where BSM has already been instrumental in forming a brass band.

The collective of young musicians, under the guidance of the NYOC’s professional faculty, conducted by the NYOC’s Maestro, Alain Trudel, will culminate in a performance by The Canada-India Youth Orchestra at Chowdiah Memorial Theatre in Bangalore, attended by dignitaries and officials, not only of Canada and India, but also from other countries.


We strongly believe this sharing of classical music expertise fits closely with Canada's strategic goal to deepen its relationship with India. As Prime Minister Harper said in 2010, “the road to the future for both India and Canada could carry much more traffic, if we continue to work on building the bridges.”

This initiative builds just such a bridge, underscoring the artistic excellence of Canadian musicians and the high esteem in which the National Youth Orchestra of Canada is regarded globally.

Aruna Sunderlal, Founder and Managing Trustee of the Bangalore School of Music, says, “We look to an ongoing partnership with the NYOC and aim at building world class young Indian players, who will play at National & International levels in the future.  The will also be instrumental in building many Chamber Orchestras and a National Youth Orchestra in the future.”

The Governor General of Canada shares our vision, saying “Art is a form of knowledge, and creativity and learning are deeply interrelated. Artists are some of the most public ambassadors we have. It has been said that the future lies in the hands of our youth; certainly, if given the means and tools needed to move forward, they will be able to achieve absolutely extraordinary things.”

The NYOC is grateful to the following generous donors and sponsors without whom our May 2013 Canada-India partnership would not be possible.


TD Bank Group

BMO Financial Group

Bata India

Kun Shoulder Rests

Long & McQuade Musical Instruments



Légère Reeds Ltd

Gary Armstrong Woodwinds 



Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)



The Seamont Foundation



Mrs. Preeti Saran, Consul General of India in Toronto

His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada

Mr. Nirmal Verma, High Commissioner for India to Canada

Mr. Stewart Beck, High Commissioner for Canada to India

Mrs. Constance Pathy

Mrs. Earlaine Collins

Mr. Todd Buchanan

Mr. Tom Heintzman

Ms. Marina Kun

Mr. Kasi Rao

Mr. Arun Rozario

Ms. Bianca Mendonca

Mr. Brian G’froerer

Mr. Gabe Radford

Mr. Ed Tait

Ms. Nina Brickman

Mr. Joaquin Valdepeñas

Mr. Harcus Hennigar

Mr. James Sommerville

Ms. Marina Francesca Krickler

Ms. Shannon Moses

Ms. Janet Price-Summers

Mr. Greg James

Dr. V. Lakshmanan 

Mr. Guy Légère