Steve Rankin, via email:
Mikko Utevsky, 17, of Madison, decided to form a student-led chamber orchestra, so he did. Their premiere was June 17 on the UW-Madison campus, and here’s what Mikko had to say to Jacob Stockinger, a classical music blogger from Madison, at the beginning of a week of intensive rehearsal: http://welltempered.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/classical-music-qa-high-school-conductor-mikko-utevsky-discusses-the-madison-area-youth-chamber-orchestra-which-makes-its-debut-this-friday-night-in-vivaldi-beethoven-and-borodin/
Obviously, these kids did not arrive at their musical talents without adult teaching and guidance. Many of them began in their school bands and orchestras. They continue to study with their own teachers and with adult-run orchestras such as WYSO (http://wyso.music.wisc.edu/) and school-based bands and orchestras. As school funding continues to be in jeopardy, and arts programming is first on the chopping block (the MMSD strings program has been under threat of elimination a number of times and has been cut twice since most of these students began, (http://www.schoolinfosystem.org/archives/2007/01/elementary_stri_3.php, http://www.schoolinfosystem.org/archives/2006/05/speak_up_for_st.php, http://www.schoolinfosystem.org/archives/000241.php, http://www.schoolinfosystem.org/archives/2006/05/on_wednesday_ma.php, http://www.schoolinfosystem.org/archives/2006/05/speak_up_for_st_2.php – many more citations available through SIS), the chances for a student-led ensemble such as MAYCO (Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra) to continue to thrive are also in jeopardy.