I became a part of the Phoenix Youth Symphony, as its conductor, during the time that I held the position of Resident Conductor of The Phoenix Symphony. I have held many conducting positions, both before and after my time in Phoenix. I have to say that in many ways, being conductor of PYS was one of the best jobs I have ever had. The overall level of talent and dedication was extraordinary. In addition, I was always impressed by the academic prowess of PYS students–most of them were at the top of their high school classes. But most important, they were all just such “good kids.” I remember that I would see so much “bad”, either on the news or walking down the street. But on Wednesday nights, I was comforted by the fact that in that room, at least, there was still “good” in the world.
One of my favorite PYS stories was when one of the students dressed up as me for Halloween. Again, I’ve had many honors, both before and after PYS, including winning international awards for my work. But that was the greatest honor I’ve ever had!