Mission & History
AYPO is a youth orchestra program that serves over 400 students in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. We strive to provide excellent instruction to the next generation of music leaders and educators. Students receive training from esteemed coaches and conductors during our Monday night rehearsals, perform in small ensembles for master classes in our Chamber Ensemble Program, and give back to the music community by participating in the Music Buddies Mentorship Program.
AYPO is proud to be in its 52nd season of educating young musicians and giving them the opportunity to engage and learn through classical music.
American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras (formerly the Northern Virginia Youth Symphony Association) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded by the Fairfax Symphony in 1964 and became independent in 1978. The flagship orchestra was named the American Youth Philharmonic (AYP) in 1993. The new name reflected not only the regional scope of its more than 100 young musicians from all over the metropolitan area but also the national acclaim and prestige the orchestra had earned in its first three decades. In 2003, the AYP became the Youth Orchestra in Residence at George Mason University's Center for the Arts.
Recognized as one of the leading orchestral training programs in the nation, AYPO provides competitive world-class training and performance opportunities for musicians up to 21 years of age. With a nationally recognized artistic staff, a dedicated professional staff, and a host of volunteers, AYPO annually selects and trains over 400 of the most talented young musicians. AYPO delivers programs of the highest caliber throughout the Washington metropolitan region, earning an unrivaled reputation for excellence and distinction. AYPO has represented youth in the arts through performances at Strathmore, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the National Orchestral Festival, the International Rachmaninoff Festival (Novgorod, Russia), the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (Scotland), the British Festival of Youth Orchestras, the Festival of Youth Orchestras (Chicago and Washington D.C.), and the Spoleto Festival (South Carolina). Through the orchestras, young people with a common interest, commitment, and discipline work together to achieve harmony and excellence. In concert, these young musicians share their remarkable achievement and appreciation for classical music with the community.
Consisting of five separate ensembles — the Debut Orchestra, String Ensemble, Concert Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra, and Philharmonic — AYPO provides talented young people an opportunity to perform in one of this nation’s premier youth orchestra programs. Each of the orchestras rehearses on Monday evenings from September through May and prepares at least three programs of repertoire for performance. Musicians also have the opportunity to participate in a Brass Ensemble, Harp Ensemble, Flute Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble Program and become mentors in the Music Buddies Mentorship Program. AYPO accepts applicants based on their musical ability without regard to gender, race, religion, disability, or income.
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