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Mission & History

About

The New York Youth Symphony is one of the most awarded youth programs of its kind in the nation, recognized for its innovative, educational programs for talented young musicians.  Founded in 1963 as an orchestra to showcase the metropolitan area’s most gifted musicians ages 12-22, its activities have since grown to encompass programs in chamber music, conducting, composition, and jazz, with performances at world class venues including Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Through its commissioning program, First Music, the NYYS has commissioned over 150 works from young composers  since 1984.

The careers of world-renowned conductors, musicians, and composers have been assisted by their early experiences with the New York Youth Symphony.  Our former music directors and program alumni include Leonard Slatkin (Detroit Symphony Orchestra), Myung-Whun Chung (Tokyo Philharmonic), David Alan Miller (Albany Symphony Orchestra), Miguel Harth-Bedoya (Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra), Marin Alsop (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), Cho-Liang Lin (Soloist; Rice University), Gary Levinson (Dallas Symphony), Michael Tiscione (Atlanta Symphony), Lawrence Dutton (Emerson Quartet), Kenneth Mirkin (New York Philharmonic), Joel Smirnoff (Juilliard String Quartet), Fred Zlotkin (NY City Ballet), and Pedro Diaz (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), among many others. 

Mission

To educate and inspire young musicians through exceptional ensemble training and performance opportunities.

Core Values

  • We value the excellence of our teaching and mentoring.
  • We encourage personal development, creativity, self-discipline, and working well with others.
  • No one is to be excluded on the basis of ability to pay.
  • We aspire to a culture of fairness and mutual respect.
  • We value performances in prominent venues.
  • We expect a strong commitment from all members of the NYYS community – musicians, teachers, staff, and Trustees.
  • We value the special relationship between our musicians and their audiences.
  • We strive to be an inclusive organization reflecting the diversity of, and actively reaching out to, the greater New York metropolitan community.
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