June 22, 2021
About Austin Youth Orchestra
About AYO

The Austin Youth Orchestra traces its history to the 1973 -74 school year, when John Pearson, Coordinator of Fine Arts for the Austin independent School District, instituted a program of All-City performing groups: an All-City Jazz Band, which he conducted, an All-City Choir conducted by Richard Sutch and an All-City Orchestra for which he hired William Dick as conductor.

A program from the 1978-79 season states the philosophy and goal of the All-City Orchestra:

        “As long as mankind has speculated and written about what should be included in the education of our species, music has always been a continuous ingredient. The ancient Greeks held the various modes of music as crucial elements in the total development of the character and soul; whereas modern society tends to emphasize the benefits of discipline and socialization. Regardless of the philosophical approach to music, the involvement of young people in music has always been an inspirational sight and experience.
        Tonight's concert showcases the gifted and talented curriculum for instrumental students in the Austin Independent School District.  From our Suzuki classes for kindergarten students to the High School All-City Orchestra, our staff is dedicated to the fusion of children and music. The AISD and the Austin Symphony are delighted to present these students to you and to renew our commitment of providing the very best possible musical experiences for those young people living and learning their skills in Austin.”

In the 1993-94 school year, Tom Waggoner and the AISD orchestra staff changed the name of the All-City Orchestra to the Austin Youth Symphony to reflect the growth of the city, and the fact that the orchestra now included students from surrounding school districts and various alternative school settings.

The Austin Youth Orchestra now offers a program (grades 1 - 12) for the development and enrichment of instrumental music students in the Austin Metropolitan area. The seven separate orchestras provide developmental and accomplishment benchmarks that ensure success as the students move through the different levels of instruction and performances.

We welcome your interest and hope to see you as a supporter of our organization; and better still, as a performing member of one of our orchestras!

Who is Eligible for Membership? 

Membership in AYO is open to all interested students in grades 1 through 12 who qualify through the audition process. String students from schools with orchestra programs must be a member in good standing in their school orchestra. Wind and percussion students must be members in good standing in their school band programs. Membership in the AYO program is contingent upon payment of tuition and completion of the membership acceptance form with the school orchestra/band director's signature verifying that the student is a member in good standing in the school orchestra/band program. 

Which Youth Orchestra Is Right for Me? 

Austin Youth Orchestra Academy is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization
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