CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Orchestra announces a free community concert in which the Orchestra performs “side-by-side” with members of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO). 

The concert will be given in Severance Hall on Friday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. and will be conducted by Brett Mitchell, who is in his first season as assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra and music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. 

Musical selections to be performed by The Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra are Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Michael Torke’s Bright Blue Music, and two movements from Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.  Violinist James Thompson, currently a student of Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William Preucil at the Cleveland Institute of Music, will perform with The Cleveland Orchestra as soloist in Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for violin and orchestra.  Mr. Thompson was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra from 2005 to 2012.  His positions in COYO included principal second violin, followed by concertmaster.
The Cleveland Orchestra is committed to promoting music-making and nurturing aspiring musicians across Northeast Ohio. In this unique annual concert, featuring Cleveland Orchestra musicians sitting “side-by-side” with Youth Orchestra members, Cleveland Orchestra musicians mentor their younger counterparts and serve as role models.
Admission to this concert is free, with general admission seating, but tickets are required. Tickets are available now, on a first-come, first-served basis, through the Severance Hall Ticket Office in person; by phone at 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141; or online at  There is a limit of 6 tickets per household.

BRETT MITCHELL is in his first season as assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra and music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra.  As assistant conductor, he serves as cover conductor for Severance Hall and Blossom Music Festival subscription concerts, and provides assistance to music director Franz Welser-Möst.  In addition to his appointment with The Cleveland Orchestra, Brett Mitchell is currently in his fourth season as music director of Michigan’s Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra.

In recent seasons, Mr. Mitchell has led the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, as well as the orchestras of Baltimore, Memphis, Oregon, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Rochester, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Washington D.C.’s National Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Northwest Mahler Festival Orchestra.  He has also acted as musical assistant and cover conductor with the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra.  Recent return engagements include appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Houston Symphony, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mr. Mitchell served as assistant conductor of the Houston Symphony (2007-11), where he concurrently held a League of American Orchestras American Conducting Fellowship. Since that time, he has returned to lead that orchestra regularly as a guest conductor.  He was also an assistant conductor to Kurt Masur at the Orchestre National de France (2006-09) and served as director of orchestras at Northern Illinois University (2005-07).  He was associate conductor of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (2002-06), where he led many subscription programs, six world premieres, and several recording projects.  Mr. Mitchell has also served as music director of nearly a dozen opera productions, principally as music director at the Moores Opera Center in Houston (2010-13), where he led eight productions.

A native of Seattle, Brett Mitchell holds a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was also music director of the University Orchestra.  He earned a bachelor of music degree in composition from Western Washington University.  Mr. Mitchell also participated in the National Conducting Institute in Washington D.C., and studied extensively with Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival and with Kurt Masur as a recipient of the inaugural American Friends of the Mendelssohn Foundation Scholarship.
Violinist JAMES THOMPSON, from Cleveland Ohio, is enrolled in the bachelor’s program at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) as a student of William Preucil (concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra), having studied previously with Paul Kantor in CIM’s preparatory program.  During the current academic year, Mr. Thompson performed with CIM piano faculty members Linda Jones and Daniel Shapiro, in addition to Cleveland Orchestra cellist Tanya Ell, as part of both CIM’s faculty recital series and the Arts Renaissance Tremont series.  In 2012 he appeared as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO) at Severance Hall as the winner of the ensemble’s concerto competition, and was awarded a scholarship by the Women’s Committee of The Cleveland Orchestra.  In 2009, he was soloist with the Youth Orchestra during its tour to the Boston area.  Mr. Thompson has appeared as soloist with numerous local orchestras, including the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra, the Cleveland Pops (as the 2010 winner of their Jean L. Petitt Memorial Music Scholarship), and the Cleveland Philharmonic.  From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Thompson was selected to attend the Hotchkiss Chamber Music program in Connecticut, where he performed a commissioned work in collaboration with the Orion String Quartet, and served as concertmaster of the Hotchkiss Chamber Orchestra.  Additionally, he has served as concertmaster of the CIM Orchestra in 2014, the Brevard Music Festival Sinfonia in 2013, and the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra in 2012. An active member of Cleveland’s thriving music community, James Thompson has given many recitals throughout the city over the course of the past seven years, in collaboration with pianist Julia Russ.
The CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA YOUTH ORCHESTRA (COYO) was created in 1986, to provide talented young musicians with a pre-professional orchestral training experience of the highest possible artistic standard.  Since then, the Youth Orchestra has performed more than 140 concerts and provided a musical home to more than 1,300 talented young musicians of middle-school and high-school age.  Youth Orchestra members are coached regularly by Cleveland Orchestra musicians.  A member of the Cleveland Orchestra conducting staff serves as the COYO music director, and rehearsals and concerts take place in historic Severance Hall.  Youth Orchestra members also have opportunities to meet and work with guest artists and conductors appearing with The Cleveland Orchestra.

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra is a full symphonic ensemble comprised of approximately 100 young musicians.  Players are drawn from more than 35 communities in 9 counties across Northern Ohio.  The Youth Orchestra presents three subscription performances, a side-by-side concert with The Cleveland Orchestra, and several community concerts.  COYO performs with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus each season, providing students of both ensembles with a broader repertoire.  A chamber music program provides COYO members with additional artistic and performance opportunities, while simultaneously giving the Youth Orchestra a greater presence in the community.  
In June 1998, COYO was one of only five U.S. youth orchestras selected to participate in the second National Youth Orchestra Festival sponsored by the League of American Orchestras.  In March 2001, at the invitation of Carnegie Hall’s Education Director, COYO appeared on their "Family Concert" series.  In June 2009, COYO completed its first four-concert tour to the Boston, MA area.   In May 2011, COYO celebrated its 25th Anniversary season with an Alumni Reunion weekend, featuring an orchestra concert performed by COYO alumni.  COYO traveled on its inaugural European Tour in June 2012, with touring endowment support provided by the Vinney Fund.  In the 2012-13 season, COYO was invited to close out the day-long festivities celebrating WCLV 104.9’s 50th anniversary with a live radio broadcast.  Also during the 2012-13 season, COYO was selected to perform at the Ohio Music Educators Association’s annual conference in Columbus, Ohio.
For additional information about COYO, please call the Youth Orchestra manager at (216) 231-7352, or visit us online at