International Pride Orchestra Trumpeters

The International Pride Orchestra (IPO) made its debut performance on June 22, 2023, in San Francisco, CA.

Ethan Bensdorf (New York Philharmonic), Luke Spence (Crane School of Music), and Marisa Youngs (Winthrop University) formed the orchestra's inaugural trumpet section. Spence is a founding IPO Board of Directors member. The concert took place on June 22 at 7:30pm in Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.


Ethan Bensdorf, Marisa Youngs, and Luke Spence

In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, the non-profit IPO brought together LGBTQIA+ musicians from around the world to present concerts, celebrate community, and raise funds for LGBTQIA+ causes. San Francisco welcomed nearly 80 LGBTQIA+ musicians from around the world, representing a diverse cross-section of the music industry. These talented musicians hailed from ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, South Florida Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, Queer Urban Orchestra, and numerous others. IPO was also honored to have members of the US Military, university professors, and college students on stage. Together, they united in their
shared purpose: to raise awareness and funds for LYRIC—the first and largest LGBTQQ+ youth center in the US.

The performance was hosted by Peaches Christ, conducted by Michael Roest, Christine Brandes, and Robert Moody, and featured soprano Breanna Sinclairé. The event saw the world premiere of Loud by composer Jimmy López Bellido, which was jointly commissioned by the IPO, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Seattle Youth Symphony. In addition to López Bellido’s world premiere, the inaugural concert included works by Leonard Bernstein, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and Mary D. Watkins. 


The International Pride Orchestra

Describing the mission behind the orchestra, IPO founder and director Michael Roest said: “We know that not everyone has access to an LGBTQIA+ ensemble or community. We created the International Pride Orchestra to ensure that no matter where one is in this world, there is an orchestra for them.” Roest, while outlining the IPO's vision for its impact on the community, added: “What is unique about this orchestra is its philanthropic mission to raise funds and awareness for vital programs serving the LGBTQIA+ community. This year, we were honored to raise thousands in support of LYRIC,” Roest added. Starting in 2023, a different city will be chosen each year to host an IPO concert, establishing new partnerships with LGBTQIA+ organizations. These concerts will serve as a platform for patrons and musicians to give and support the LGBTQIA+ community. 

If you would like to donate or learn more about the International Pride Orchestra, please visit 
(Source: Luke Spence)

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