Founded in 1976, the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra (MSYO) serves young musicians and their families from more than 40 public and private schools in the Central Valley. Led by a deeply engaged leadership team, the youth orchestra attracts a diverse group of outstanding musicians. Members are presented with the opportunity to share their gift of music in an inspiring and challenging orchestral setting alongside their peers from all social, economic, cultural, and geographical backgrounds. As a program within the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Association (MSO), members also have the invaluable experience of interacting with MSO professional musicians, conductors, and visiting guest artists through workshops, side-by-side performances, and clinics.
The MSYO serves students of varying skill levels and is made up of two full-orchestra (strings, winds, and percussion) groups: Concert Orchestra for grades 5-9 and Symphony Orchestra for grades 9-12. The MSYO Concert Orchestra has toured San Francisco, Sacramento, and the Central Valley. Each spring the Concert Orchestra tours through local elementary schools, providing free performances and advocating for the importance of music education. The MSYO Symphony Orchestra has also performed throughout the United States and abroad, including performances in England, France, Japan, Eastern Europe, Canada, and China. The Symphony Orchestra has previously partnered with the Napa Valley Youth Symphony to perform in the 2012 Mahler Festival in Vienna and for the 2014 New York Phil Young Composers workshop, where they performed at Carnegie Hall and in Central Park.