Cause Area

  • Arts & Culture
  • Children & Youth
  • Community


8282 S MEMORIAL DRSTE 201TULSA, OK 74133 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

The Tulsa Youth Symphony is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1963 with a stated mission to provide advanced musical training and exceptional performance opportunities to our community’s future leaders. Our goal is to improve problem-solving skills, stimulate creativity, expand the imagination, and instill a love and passion for music thereby developing an ability to recognize beauty and formulate an appreciation for the arts.


The Tulsa Youth Symphony began as an educational wing of the Tulsa Philharmonic Society in 1963. The first conductor was Max Waits, Principal Flute for the Philharmonic. Robert McNally, Principal Second Violin for the Philharmonic, became TYS conductor in 1966. In 1972, TYS named Ron Wheeler as conductor and later in 2003 the Executive Director. In 2021, RaeAnn Dowd was named Executive Director of TYS. Mr. Wheeler returned in 2022 to be awarded Conductor Emeritus status. To date, TYS has served over 8,000 students.

To open the program to more young musicians, the Concert Orchestra was added in 2003 and the Preparatory Orchestra was added in 2016. Currently TYS has three conductors: Richard Wagner, Pete Peterson, and Amelia Ivory. Our organization serves over 300 talented young musicians across NE Oklahoma each season. In 2022, TYS introduced two new initiatives: the Prestige Performance Series and the Chamber Music Program.

TYS alumni have performed with the Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and more. Our students have attended Julliard, Cleveland Institute, Harvard, and similar. In addition to professional careers in music, our alumni have explored phenomenal futures as leading doctors, attorneys, teachers, finance specialists, business owners, government officials, and more.


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