The 117 players of Benjamin Zander’s new Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, ranging in age from 12 to 21, come from all over New England, and they packed the Symphony Hall stage Sunday. But Zander’s gift for getting clarity from large ensembles was evident from the opening piece, Beethoven’s “Egmont” Overture. The performance alternated dramatic outbursts and heroic sentiment, with precise attacks from the strings and no insecurity from the winds and brass when they were exposed.
The Elgar Cello Concerto followed, with Venezuelan guest conductor Rafael Payare and American Alisa Weilerstein as soloist. Weilerstein is an intense player who coaxes and caresses her instrument, and she gets from it a firm, focused tone and a rich singing line.