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.and Season Highlights for 2019-20.

A message from the Executive Director:

Dear Parents, Students, School Instructors and Private Lesson Teachers,

The Louisville Youth Orchestra Board and staff has spent the last four months assessing, re-assessing, re-vamping and re-vitalizing our wonderful organization to address the current COVID-19 situation.  While all looked very bleak when we began this process a wonderful vigor and passion has emerged allowing the LYO to meet the challenge and dramatically improve our system of musical delivery while maintaining quality education to the maximum.

Immediately after the shutdown in March the LYO board undertook development of a one-year contingency plan to address the virus situation and all it involves.  (LYO Contingency Plan)


Soon afterwards the LYO staff began the process of developing a re-opening plan to address health and safety concerns while still allowing the LYO to produce great music, provide musical education to our membership and offer the community much needed artistic activities. (LYO Reopening Plan)

An ad-hoc committee was formed to locate dedicated alternative rehearsal and performance spaces which will allow for proper social distancing.  Should audiences not be allowed by the time of our first performance we will be professionally videoing these activities in a concert-like approach in order for students, family, friends and audience members to have a memory of the event.


A plan has been developed which will allow for a mix of in-person music-making while weaving on-line classes throughout in order to provide rich, varied and diverse offerings.  New music classes have been established to add depth to our educational services and provide students with a cornucopia of opportunities from which to choose.  See below what is now additionally available to our membership.

  • 10-week beginning/intermediate music theory class (on-line)

  • 10-week advanced music theory class (on-line)

  • 10-week age appropriate music history class for younger members (on-line)

  • 10-week age appropriate music history class for older members (on-line)

  • monthly mini-masterclasses with local, regional and national artists (on-line)

  • continuation of our collaboration with the NouLou Chamber Players to offer Chamber Music instruction

  • blend of in-person and remote rehearsals (following Health and Safety rehearsal length recommendations)

All of these exciting changes have been instituted with a primary goal of keeping you, your child, your student and our audience safe while we navigate these choppy waters together.

Now is not the time to accept defeat, throw up our hands and declare “We give up!”  Rather it is a time to realize that together we can forge a new LYO, an innovative identity and a novel means of providing great orchestral art to our community.

It’s time to apply for membership.

It’s time to get that application filled out.

It’s time to start work on your video audition.

It’s time to COME GROW WITH US!

Melody Welsh-Buchholz

Executive Director

Louisville Youth Orchestra


Preview of 2020-21 Season

Classical Series


Great Struggles, Great Triumphs

Sunday, November 15, 2020

4:00 pm

Location TBA


A Little Song and Dance

Sunday, November 22, 2020

4:00 pm

Location TBA


American Masters

Sunday, March 7, 2021

4:00 pm

Brown Theater

(with guest artist, Christian Howes)

(Grammy Award winning jazz violinist)


Old and New Friends

Sunday March 14 or March 21, 2021

4:00 pm

Location TBA

Pops Series


Mistletoe, Merriment and Miracles

Sunday, December 13, 2020

4:00 pm

Location TBA


And They’re Off!

Sunday, April 28, 2021

4:00 pm

Iroquois Amphitheater



Discovery Series

Great Expectations

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

6:30 pm

Kentucky Center for the Arts

Confirmation Pending


From Many, One

Monday, March 8, 2021

10:30 am

Brown Theater                     

Come Grow With Us!

We understand audiences are thinking carefully about future performance ticket purchases.  The LYO wants you to know that as we navigate this difficult period the safety of our students, parents, audience and staff is uppermost in our minds.  We will be confirming locations with the utmost care.


Music is a pathway which kindles our passions, expands our curiosity and links us to our community, world and each other.  The LYO has chosen to highlight each of our concerts with a least one minority composer in an effort to bring us all closer together during our 62nd consecutive season. 


We can’t wait to see you back at our exceptional Louisville Youth Orchestra performances offered by our phenomenal student artists.  We look ahead to brighter days filled with great music, fun and time spent with those who bring you joy.  We will be adding concert locations and additional particulars about our events as the days move forward.  We also have a plan in place to video our performances should circumstances dictate that concerts halls be closed.  You will have the opportunity to hear and see these fantastic youth musicians even if not live.  Please check back for more details

TWO great opportunities for you to enjoy arts and culture from home this summer.

Please enjoy this book of activities for all ages, including activities from the LYO and 27 others. For an even more robust experience, sign up for your 2020 Virtual Cultural Pass at your local library branch and get EXCLUSIVE access to the activities, demos, videos, projects and more from 61 arts and cultural organizations in our region.”

Bookgraphicflippage (2).jpg

RESOURCES for ensembles


Symphony Orchestra

Doug Elmore, Conductor

The Berlin Philharmonic, one of the world's truly great orchestras, has a streaming service called Digital Concert Hall. They have decided to temporarily make it FREE since they have had to cancel concerts. There are hundreds of outstanding performances which you can stream at absolutely no cost or obligation. There is a March 31 sign up deadline and the link is The Berliner Philharmoniker’s Digital Concert Hall .


I did some exploring on YouTube and found some amazing listening experiences:


Wynton Marsalis, trumpet; and Mark O'Connor, fiddle- 

Best "Boil 'em Cabbage Down" ever!

Sweet Georgia Brown

New York Philharmonic Cellos

J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello in G major

The Philadellphia Orchestra

Beethoven Symphonies 5 & 6


Two Set Violin with Hilary Hahn (coolest violin video EVER!!!!!

Paganini Caprice 24

London Symphony Orchestra / Leonard Bernstein

Igor Stravinsky / The Rite of Spring (my favorite piece of all time)


Concert Orchestra

Chris Lerner, Conductor

Many cultural organizations have been cancelling their performances out of concern for public health and safety. However, many arts organizations are using this opportunity to live stream their performances from otherwise empty venues. WKAR Public Media from Michigan State University is maintaining a list of both live and archived performances as a way to connect and enjoy musical artistry while we face the constraints of Covid19.  Follow the WKAR list.  Also be sure to check out Alex Ross' List of Live Streams.

You may also want to see an incredible YouTube video of Yo Yo Ma playing the J.S. Bach Prelude from Suite 1 for Solo Cello.

For some fun, you won't want to miss Peter Schickele's "P.D.Q. Bach":  Orchestra X plays Beethoven -- and Beethoven loses.  Beethoven's Fifth Symphony like you never heard it before.


Percussion Ensemble

Mark Tate, Coach

  1. Go to YouTube and listen to live performance of the pieces that everyone was preparing to play on the March 23rd concert:
         Festive Overture                  Dmitri Shostakovich
         Hary Janos                          Zoltan Kodaly
         Carmina Burana                  Carl Orff
         "Estancia" Ballet Suite          Alberto Ginastera

  2. Listen to and find YouTube Performances of the Beatles, Styx and Santana
    This was going to be your music for the April 26th concert

  3. Watch the "more cowbell" Sketch from SNL 2003
    which we where going to incorporate into the April concert.

  4. Go to RowLoff and Vic Firth Websites to get on line practice material and videos.

  5. Use suggested percussion audition material on LYO website to practice and prepare for next year's audition.

  6.  If you need copies or any other Music , contact Mark Tate for curbside delivery.

  7. Keep LYO as a viable  part of your daily routine and continued music education.



Horizons Brass Ensemble

John Little, Coach

Our Routine while we are apart:

  1. Watch the Breathing Gym video part one on you tube, and do part of it at least.  Read about the Breathing Gym Clinic here.

  2. Set a daily improvement goal. Subdivision with perfection is a good goal, as is keeping your concentration for the whole piece.

  3. Listen to the Air from Water Music with the Canadian Brass on YouTube, then buzz it on the mouthpiece (aim for perfection), play with the recording.  How did you do?

  4. Let's stay in a routine, as they go first in time off. If we all practice at 3:00 pm each day it will be like having the ensemble togeher!!

  5. Once a week send me a recording of this piece.


Here are some great groups to listen to: The Canadian Brass, Empire Brass, Apollo Brass, Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears.


I'm thinking of all of you, and your families. Be good to each other, and I will see you soon!

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.  If you prefer, you can also set up a monthly recurring donation charged to PayPal.  See more ways to help on the Be a Patron page.  Please designate any preference in how your donation is acknowledged.


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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