Local Youth Orchestra Welcomes New Conductor

Hannah Reitz has plans to expand the Seacoast Youth Symphony Orchestra's outreach with additional performances in public spaces and local schools.

Hannah Reitz

Courtesy of PMAC


PMAC (Portsmouth Music and Arts Center) is proud to announce the appointment of Hannah Reitz as music director and conductor of the Seacoast Youth Symphony Orchestra. A talented performer and educator, Ms. Reitz has plans to expand the orchestra’s outreach with additional performances in public spaces and local schools. Additionally, she will launch a new competition for young composers to write for the orchestra in 2018.

The Seacoast Youth Symphony Orchestra is an educational program of PMAC, offering three levels of classical string ensemble training to musicians from age 5 to 18. Ms. Reitz will lead the large orchestra, for ages 12 to 18, programming a variety of classics, contemporary works, and occasional pops pieces including film scores. SYSO nurtures every aspect of each player’s development, with sectionals, weekly rehearsals, and unique opportunities through PMAC’s partnerships with local arts nonprofits. This is the premiere orchestral experience for young musicians in the Seacoast. Recent performances have included music by Mozart, Bach, Britten, Prokofiev, Grainger, Copland, John Williams and more. The youngest group, SYSO String Explorers, is led by Taylor Blankenship. The SYSO Junior Ensemble, conducted by Lynne White McMahon, is for string players ages 8 to 14 who have played for at least one year.

Auditions for new and returning musicians will be held in early September, with rehearsals on Saturday mornings at PMAC beginning September 23rd. Interested string players should contact the PMAC office at 603-­431-­4278 or email katie@pmaconline.org for more information. SYSO is a tuition based program and financial assistance  is  available  through PMAC’s extensive financial aid  program.

Ms. Reitz is currently a resident teaching artist at the University of New Hampshire and the assistant concertmaster for the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with orchestras in the U.S. and abroad, including the National Repertory Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony, and the AIMS in Graz Austria Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Reitz was appointed following the retirement of Augusto Salazar, who directed the orchestra, formerly known as Bow Street Strings, for 27 years. Mr. Salazar has been elevated to the position of Conductor Emeritus and will remain connected to the ensemble.


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