The LYO, founded in 1958, provides an extraordinary musical experience for young people from grade school through age 21. The LYO is made up of four orchestras, an elementary string program, and various ensembles in which students advance according to their own musical progression and interests. There are over 350 musicians from 101 schools and 17 counties in the Louisville & Southern Indiana metro area.


Musicians are required to participate in their school instrumental music programs and must take private music instruction. Financial scholarships for instruction are available and awarded based on need. Performance opportunities provide a wide range of meaningful experiences from September through May each year.  Potential members, families, patrons, media, and others can view the LYO's current video online.

The March 15 LYO Concert, "American Masters", will feature the Symphony Orchestra performing music by two of America's greatest orchestral writers:  Leonard Bernstein - "Overture to Candide," and Aaron Copland - "Buckaroo Holiday" from Rodeo, in addition to the Kentucky Premier of Scott Routenberg's Concerto for Jazz Violin and Orchestra with guest artist Christian Howes who is among the top jazz violinists in the country.

The Repertory Orchestra will perform works from the early, middle, and late romantic period featuring the music of Beethoven, Massenet, and Elgar. 

The concert will also feature our two Concerto Competition winners: Asher Blackburn and Meg Martin, both remarkable violinists.

The Percussion Ensemble now has a beautiful new Marimba!  It's a high quality Adams instrument purchased in part through a generous donation from Donald Sullivan.  Mr. Sullivan was a member of the Louisville Youth Orchestra percussion section during its first year in 1958!  Thank you, Mr. Sullivan!"


March is LYO's busiest month.  All members are engaged in activities throughout our community.

March Madness

Six Important Activities

March 14 -

   Retirement Home Tour (Homes TBA)

   Serenade & Master Chamber Players

March 14 -

   Christian Howes Master Class

  Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS)

March 15 - 

   American Masters Concert

   Brown Theater

   Symphony, Repertory,

   & guest artist Christian Howes

March 18 -

   School Tour (Locations TBA)

   Concert Orchestra

March 22 -

   Classical Concert IV

   at Highland Hills Middle School

   Concert, Serenade, Horizons,                       Percussion Ensemble,
       Master Chamber Players, and


March 23 - 

   TAPP Tour

   Georgia Chaffe School

   Repertory Orchestra

American Masters

Brown Theater, March 15, 4:00


2019-2020 season highlights

Gheens Great Expectations Concert at Whitney Hall on February 5


This year's Gheens Concert featured the Louisville Orchestra, the Louisville Youth Orchestra's Symphony Orchestra, and the 2020 Gheens Artist Clayton Stephenson, piano.  The program opened with Beethoven's First Piano Concerto with Clayton Stephenson and the remarkable musicians of the Louisville Orchestra.  The LYO Symphony Orchestra then joined the LO for a side-by-side performance of Dvorak's Carnival Overture and Borodin's Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor.  The combined orchestra of more than 120 musicians gave an exhilarating performance that concluded with a thunderous, standing ovation.  Doug Elmore, LYO Music Director, conducted the entire concert.

The Gheens Concert provides an important educational experience for the young LYO musicians and we are grateful for the nurturing support of the Louisville Orchestra musicians.  The concert was free to the public.

The concert was presented by Kentucky Performing Arts and Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA), in partnership with the Louisville Orchestra and the Louisville Youth Orchestra, with generous support from The Gheens Foundation, with additional support from Kentucky Music Educators Association, Classical 90.5 WUOL and from Dr. Laman Gray and Juliet Cooper Gray.


Cinema Stocking Stuffers Pops Concert at YPAS on December 15

The Repertory, Concert, and Serenade Orchestras presented a Pops Concert for the Holidays.


Featuring three of LYO's amazing Horizons ensembles:  Single Reed, Treble, and Brass


Plus the LYO Percussion Ensemble.                      More than 180 talented young musicians!


Photos: Yenny Ho, LUZ-OM Photography

The Power of One middle school concert at Brown Theater on November 25


More than 1,000 middle school students from throughout the region attended LYO's annual middle school concert at the historic Brown Theater.  This free concert is made possible through the support of individual patrons who remember the importance of "Making Music" concerts when they were young.  Teachers were given program notes in advance to explain this musical tribute to people throughout history who have taken a heroic stand and changed the world.  Music on the program depicts their passion, commitment, and principles:

Compositions included Maid of Orleans overture (Tchaikovsky), Creatures of Prometheus overture (Beethhoven), Lyric for Strings (George Walker) and El Cid (James Massenet).

Sea Changes at the Brown Theater on Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sea Change was a Classical Concert featuring all four of the LYO orchestras.  The excerpts below are taken from each orchstra's program.  The program featured music inspired by significant transformations of social and personal norms. Composers included Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Sibelius, Walker, and Massenet.

The Symphony Orchestra also performed portions of the program at the LYO Middle School Concert, The Power of One, at the Brown Theater on Monday, November 25.

Symphony Orchestra

Doug Elmore, Conductor, Symphony Orchestra

Suite from El Cid 

--- Jules Massenet

I.     Castillane
II.    Andalouse

III.   Aragonaise

IV.   Aubade

V.    Catalane

VI.   Madrilene

VII.   Navarraise


Repertory Orchestra

Jason Hougland, Conductor, Repertory Orchestra

Procession of the Sardar 
From Caucasian Sketches 

--- Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov

     arr. Merle J. Isacc

Concert Orchestra

Christopher Lerner​, Conductor, Concert Orchestra

Impresario Overture

--- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Musical Menangerie concert at Highland Hills Middle School on November 10 

The Serenade Orchestra and all three Horizons Ensembles performed for an enthusiastic audience.

Serenade OrchestraElise Kotheimer Gambrell,  ​Conductor, Serenade Orchestra


Treble Ensemble

Katie McDonald, Coach

Brass Ensemble

John Little, Coach

Single Reed Ensemble

Brandon Bell, Coach

Photos: Yenny Ho, LUZ-OM Photography

The Violins of Hope is a collection of more than 50 restored instruments played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. 

The LYO Symphony strings joined members of the NouLou Chamber Players honoring these legendary instruments and the people who cherished them.

It was a stirring program to a full house with a thunderous standing ovation.


Adagio for Strings  (Samuel Barber)

Octet featuring members of the LYO Symphony Strings and NouLou Chamber Players.

Praeludium, Op.12a  (Victor Kohn)

Uv'tzeil K'nofecho  (Grunfeld/Zikmund Schul)

These two pieces were written by prisoners in the Terezin concentration camp.  Unfortunately there is little information about the composers and neither survived their imprisonment.  Doug Elmore, LYO Music Director, arranged each so that they can be appreciated today.

Theme from Schindler's List  (John Williams)

John Williams' score for Schlinder's List represented a dramatic shift in his compositional style and earned the 1994 Academy Award for Best Original Score.

Small Poster 19VFH004_ViolinsOfHope_Post

Learn more about Violins of Hope at

Thanks for Your Support


Online contributions are greatly appreciated.  You can charge a gift of any amount to most bank cards or to PayPal.  Click the Donate button to begin a secure transaction.  See more ways to help on the Be a Patron page.  The Louisville Youth Orchestra has met the Better Business Bureau’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability and is a BBB Accredited Charity.  Click here to view the LYO’s full charity report.

The LYO depends on the generosity of patrons to make programming possible. We are grateful to all private contributors as well as the following agencies for helping to make this season successful:

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, provides operating support to the Louisville Youth Orchestra with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts..

The Louisville Youth Orchestra is made possible in part with the support from the generous donors to the Fund For The Arts.

The League of American Orchestras is dedicated to helping orchestras meet the challenges of the 21st century.

LOUISVILLE YOUTH ORCHESTRA    P.O.Box 997     Louisville, KY 40201-0997     (502) 896-1851   

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