Church of Sweden

International orchestra to perform at Church of Sweden venues in July

Press release   •   Jul 05, 2016 13:28 BST

On 24–28 July, the Church of Sweden will be visited by the YOAOrchestra of the Americas, a symphony orchestra of world-class made up of young musicians from 25 countries in North, Central and South America. The orchestra will be putting on concerts at four Swedish churches as part of their European tour, and will be hosting a music workshop at a refugee accommodation centre in Vansbro municipality.

The YOA Orchestra of the Americas is a young symphony orchestra that has performed on many of the world’s major stages. Many pre-eminent musicians have been involved in teaching and training these young musicians, helping them out of poverty and on to places in orchestras such as the London Symphony, St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Orchestra and the Houston Symphony.

YOA was founded in 2001, inspired by the music education programme El Sistema in Venezuela, and offers musical training for children and young people from deprived areas. The orchestra has members from across the American continent: this year’s orchestra is made up of 29 musicians from North America, 16 from Central America and 32 from countries in South America.

The members receive professional music training and perform with the orchestra for one year. Once a year they embark on an international tour, and this year they are coming to Europe. The tour begins in Estonia and continues via Latvia and Lithuania to Sweden, before ending in Poland and Germany. In Sweden, YOA will give concerts at four rural churches: in Leksand on 24 July, Dala-Järna on 26 July, Stora Tuna on 27 July and in Vadstena on 28 July.

“We’re delighted and proud to be able to offer the orchestra four fantastic churches, which are often the only concert venues to be found in rural areas. The visit will be a celebration of orchestral music, a cultural heritage represented here by a young generation of musicians, in historical church settings that allow people to experience both tradition and innovation,” says Marit Torkelson, the Church of Sweden’s administrator for church music and coordinator of YOA’s Sweden tour.

Music workshop at refugee accommodation centre
During the Sweden tour, the members of the orchestra will also visit a refugee accommodation centre in Vansbro municipality, which is home to around 400 refugees, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan. On 26 July, YOA will lead a workshop at the centre to provide musical inspiration and encourage children,young people and families. After the workshop, Vansbro municipality and the Church of Sweden will provide transport by bus from the centre to the concert at Dala-Järna church, to enable everyone who is interested to attend the concert.

The orchestra project YOA also encompasses a leadership and entrepreneurial programme, Global Leaders Program, which members can apply to join after one year as a musician. The programme takes on talented musicians who also have a gift for sharing their skills with others. In addition to becoming a musician, the participants also learn the entrepreneurial skills they need to start up new music and social projects in their home countries.

“Music functions as a tool to promote social development,” explains Raul Gomez, one of the leaders of the European tour.

As part of its Global Leaders Program, YOA has visited a children’s cancer hospital in El Salvador, disadvantaged areas in Panama and Haiti, and launched social music programmes in Surinam, the Gobi Desert and the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. All these activities embody YOA’s commitment to music and cultural diversity as a catalyst for social change.

Marit Torkelson, Church of Sweden’s administrator for church music and coordinator of YOA’s Sweden tour, tel +46 (0)70-2366172,
Oswaldo Gutiérrez, YOA Tour Communications Officer,

Further information:
YOA’s website:

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