Ben Klatchko remembered through music

PYP concert of old

Clarion photo

PYP concert of old

By Emily Diamond, Editor-in-Chief

Benjamin Klatchko, who passed away last May, was honored in a Portland Youth Philharmonic (PYP) concert on Nov. 14 at the Arlene Schnitzer Hall. PYP played Sibelius’ Andante Festivo as an encore in Ben’s memory.

We were very honored by the dedication of an encore piece to the memory of Binya and were moved by the conductor’s farewell to him,” Asher Klatchko, Ben’s father, said.  

The Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is a part of the Oregon Symphony and is conducted by David Hattner. As stated on its website, PYP was “the first established youth orchestra in the country in 1924 and became a model for youth orchestras that followed in other cities decades later.”

Ben joined PYCO (Portland Youth Conservative Orchestra) in 2012 as principal of the section and decided to play the viola. Before that, he played both the violin and the viola. In 2013, Ben moved to PYP and remained in the orchestra for three years, practicing every day for multiple hours.

The piece was described as “free” by Nicholas Dill, a fellow PYP member and friend of Ben’s. “For string we had no set going and we thought that was a bit more of a homogenous flowing sound. Everybody did their own thing,” Dill said

The song was especially emotional for his friends in PYP and family. “I couldn’t stop thinking of Ben the whole time I was playing it,” said Dill. “People were quite sad playing that piece.”

“During the performance of the piece, I felt that I was becoming one with our beloved son,” Klatchko said. “Like other Sibelius’ compositions, the piece has what I call a ‘water quality’ — very much in sync with my thoughts and emotions due to the circumstance of his death. In my imagination, we were flying together over the water as if we were migrating birds.”
Ben will live on through PYP, the viola, and music around the world.