Austin Youth Orchestra Academy is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, providing an exceptional music education experience to the members of the seven orchestras; providing artistic performances that enrich the lives of developing musicians, our community, and our region; and working cooperatively with public and private schools, and independent music teachers in a continuing effort to provide musical development for youth.
The Austin Youth Orchestra's history began in 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 and included an All-City Orchestra led by William Dick, 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. "
In the 1993-94 school year 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 alternative school settings.
The Austin Youth Orchestra now offers a program (grades 1 - 12) for the development and enrichment of instrumental music students. The seven orchestras provide accomplishment benchmarks that ensure success as the students progress up the levels of instruction and performance.
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