Perfect Consonance

In celebration of International Education Week (IEW), we invite you to view the award-winning short film, In Search of Perfect Consonance (2016), directed by Ruby Yang and featuring the Asian Youth Orchestra (AYO), which was founded by SJSU alumnus, Richard Pontzious.

About the film

  • Platinum Winner of the Asia pacific International Filmmaker Festival & Awards, 2017
  • Winner of the Excellence in Filmmaking for Documentary Short at the Sedona International Film Festival, 2018

This 38-minute documentary profiles the Asian Youth Orchestra (AYO) from its establishment in 1987 to its 25th anniversary in 2016. At the time of AYO’s founding, China and Vietnam were engaged in a long and violent border war, relations between China and Japan were frosty with tensions running high across the Strait of Taiwan. These events inspired SJSU alumnus, Richard Pontzious, to establish the AYO in Hong Kong with the support of world-renowned musicians such as the great violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who eventually became co-founder and conducted the first concerts in 1990. From its humble beginnings, the orchestra aimed to connect the region’s aspiring young musicians in a bid to promote peace through music and has trained more than 2,000 musicians from across Asia throughout its 25-year history. Visit the film’s website.

Watch the film for free

All SJSU students, faculty and staff have access to Kanopy, a streaming service available through the SJSU King Library.

  1. Go to 
  2. Login with your One.SJSU account (SJSU ID# and SJSUOne Password) 

If it takes you back to the main Kanopy page, simply type in “Search of Perfect Consonance” in the search bar, and it will pop up.

See the Trailer


Have you seen the film? Share your thoughts!

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to share your thoughts and/or respond to one or more of the following discussion questions in the comments sections below.

  1. Before this documentary, did you imagine a SJSU graduate played a role in spreading classical music appreciation in China?
  2. SJSU is known for growing talents for the tech industry.  Technology is known for changing the world.  Do you think music education contributed to this change in a similar or different way?
  3. Do you consider yourself a globalist like Richard?  Have you thought about living abroad in the future? 
  4. Richard brought music to another country and trained generations of young musicians.  Do you have something you want to share with people in another country?
  5. Certain young musicians shared their challenges in life in the documentary.  How do you think the AYO experience helped them see their challenges differently?

We hope you enjoyed the film, and we hope to bring Richard Pontzious back to our campus one day for a talk!

To learn more about International Education Week events at SJSU, visit our website.

One thought on “Perfect Consonance

  1. I had the opportunity to attend the HKAYO concert in the Hammer Theater on their 2017 world tour. I was very impressed with their performance. This film gave me a different perspective of their love of music. With the history of the orchestra, I realized interestingly SJSU has a connection with the music education of these young musicians. Go Spartans!