The Harrisburg Symphony’s training ensembles program, known as the Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestras (HSYO), is comprised of three different ensembles and offers orchestral experiences for students in grades 4-12.
Since its inception in 1954, the orchestra has been an integral educational part of the Harrisburg Symphony Association. One of the oldest youth symphonies in the country, the program membership of approximately 185 student musicians represents the finest from public, private, and home-school institutions in the Central Pennsylvania area. Approximately one-third of HSYO graduates will continue as music majors at the college and conservatory level. Many will continue to play in college and community orchestras. Presently, Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestra graduates are performing in the Harrisburg, Dallas, Chicago, Houston Opera and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras, and in regional orchestras throughout the United States.
The purpose of the Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestras is to enrich the lives of young people within a musical community. We provide the finest possible training, practice and performance opportunities, enabling our students to learn, share and enjoy the power of music.
In partnership with the Harrisburg Symphony, parents, teachers and schools we:
- Provide exposure to diverse orchestral styles under the guidance of music professionals.
- Offer the opportunity for HSYO members to work closely with professional musicians of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra.
- Foster a sense of achievement and self-esteem through a developmental approach.
- Promote self-discipline and teamwork through respect for artistic standards.
The HSYO is an organization under the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra’s umbrella and is comprised of 150 young musicians that make up two orchestras: the Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Junior String Orchestra. The HSYO attracts young musicians from over twenty public, private, home and cyber schools throughout the Greater Harrisburg area.
The Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestra is comprised of two ensembles representing two basically age-differentiated levels of youth orchestras. The two ensembles, each with its own highly qualified conductor, allow the individual to progress with young musicians of similar ability.
Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestra is a full orchestra performing advanced repertoire.
9th-12th grade students
Gregory Woodbridge, HSYO Conductor
Junior Youth String Orchestra provides a transition for string players moving to the more advanced repertoire that will be performed in HSYO.
A strings-only ensemble for 6th-9th graders.
Krista Kriel, JYSO Conductor
Elementary String Orchestra offers beginning string players a full string orchestra experience. Additionally, this ensemble helps prepare students to successfully join the Junior Youth String Orchestra.
A strings-only ensemble for 4th-5th grade students.
Michael Gamon, ESO Conductor.
Membership and placement are by audition only. Each player, including all returning members from the previous year, will be auditioned every year to ensure correct placement according to individual ability. Auditions are conducted annually, in early fall.
Both orchestras offer our area’s best young musicians an opportunity to hone their technique, learn challenging repertoire, develop discipline and a sense of teamwork. We invite you to come hear these superb ensembles perform.
Each season in the spring the HSYO members have an opportunity to participate in our annual Concerto Competition.
The winner of the HSYO Concert Competition performs a solo with the HSYO at the annual Mother’s Day Concert.