He launches a 10-show solo tour in Boston February 21, stopping along the eastern seaboard and concluding in Atlanta March 4.

The improv wizard will be backed by bassist Tony Markellis and drummer Russ Lawton, plus regular Phish sidekicks Andy Moroz on trombone, sax man Dave “The Truth” Grippo, and trumpet player Jennifer Hartswick.

But first, Anastasio hooks up with a group of young virtuoso musicians for a very different endeavor.

Today (February 2), he joins the 85 musicians of the Vermont Youth Orchestra for a performance in Troy, New York. Two days later the orchestra will perform the same concert at the Flynn Theater in Burlington. Both shows sold out well in advance.

“The first day I came here and sat down I was nervous,'”Anastasio said before a rehearsal. “I knew there were 15-year-old oboe players who could outplay me.”

He and the young musicians have been hammering out a new piece called “Chat Rooms,” a combination of rock, jazz and classical. They also will perform “Guyute,” an orchestra versionof a composition Anastasio wrote during a trip to Ireland in 1992.

“Somehow in colonial America we separated great art from street art,” said Cornwall composer Ernie Stires, who wrote “Chat Rooms.” Stires was one of Anastasio’s teachers prior to the creation of Phish.

The experience has also given the young musicians, none older than high school age, the chance to work closely with Anastasio, who is as happy to work with them as the teen-agers are to get to know a rock ‘n’ roll legend. He’s taken some of the young musicians to his rural Chittenden County recording studio where they have worked out the details of some of the music that will be performed this weekend.

“I love it,” Anastasio said. “I like working with young musicians who are enthusiastic.”

The enthusiasm has rubbed off on the young people, too.

“I never would have guessed I would have done something like this,” said Jane Kittredge, a 15-year-old violin player from Middlesex. “He is really nice. He is so fun to work with. He’s anincredible person. He’s so easy to talk to.”

And it’s more than just enthusiasm for a star.

“We are so classically trained. It’s just a whole different realm of music,” said Rueben Baris, a 17-year-old French horn player from Fletcher. “

Stires suggested writing the piece for Anastasio, who has a history of working with youngmusicians.

Anastasio was first approached about working with the VYO last fall by conductor Troy Peters. Anastasio had just come back from what might have been Phish’s final tour and he was ready for something else. “This is exactly what I wanted to do,” he said. “I wanted to write more music and be with my family.”