Founded in 1969 as Training Orchestra, Inc., the Gemini Youth Orchestras consist of a fully instrumented symphony orchestra, two string orchestras, a wind ensemble and a jazz ensemble. Professional conductors complemented by a professional coaching staff present a demanding yet supportive program that challenges students to mature and grow.
From its first rehearsal in 1969, Training Orchestra has continued to provide young musicians the opportunity to study and perform under professional direction and guidance. Through all the changes that some 40 years bring - new musicians and staff, a dizzying variety of rehearsal and performance venues, and even changes in name - Paul Rudoff's vision for a program to serve the musically gifted children of Long Island has remained constant.
Paul Rudoff's passion for conducting, his love of working with children, and his desire to find a way for young musicians to play side by side with professionals led to the founding of Training Orchestra in 1969. The program began under the auspices of the Huntington Symphony. Many of the Symphony's members were coaches and their children were among the first students. The office was in Anne Sanderson's home in Huntington.
Over the years, rehearsals and concerts have been held in locations all over Long Island: in the Huntington, Smithtown, Ronkonkoma, Jericho, Mineola, Farmingdale, East Islip, Hauppauge, and Half Hollow Hills School Districts, at St. Elizabeth's Church (Huntington), and at Friends Elementary School in Westbury. For a second year, our rehearsal and subscription concert venues have been generously provided by Five Towns College in Dix Hills.
By the mid-seventies there were separate Nassau and Suffolk orchestras, each with its own junior orchestra. In 1985 a Saturday program, the Chamber Music Workshop, was established. Many well-known artists appeared as soloists with the chamber orchestra before it was disbanded in 1992 due to Paul Rudoff's illness. In the late eighties Training Orchestra took on a new identity, renaming the twin orchestras the Gemini Youth Orchestras. Nationally known conductor Kenneth Klein was appointed music director for the 1991-92 season and Gail Rinaudo became conductor of the reorganized junior orchestra, the Gemini Youth Concert Orchestra, in 1992-93. Stephen Rogers Radcliffe succeeded Kenneth Klein in 1993, serving as music director and GYS conductor until 1996. The baton passed to maestro Kimbo Ishii-Eto in the fall of 1996, Amir Kats in 2001, Michael Adelson in 2003 (and 2008), Michael Canipe in 2005, Matthew Pierce in 2007 and later, David Ramael and other celebrated conductors. As time went by and the program grew to a five-ensemble offering, an artistic director role was replaced with a collaborative dynamic between the GYO ensemble conductors, who are currently Andrew Perea, Michael Canipe, Matthew Pierce, and Harry Marenstein.