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.

From the Executive Director:

What is a yellow citrus fruit that is very, very sour?  Yes, of course – the lemon.  The current “lemon of the day” has meant performing arts halls shuttering their doors, schools locking entrances and rehearsals and concerts disappearing in a flash.  Well, the LYO team is taking that very lemon and turning it into lemonade!


Our audition process allowing members to send in a video instead of taking a live audition is in place and accepting applications.  Our rehearsal schedule is planned and our concert days selected for our 2020-2021 62nd season.


We have not one, not two, not three – but four contingency plans in place to making sure these rehearsals and performances go on as scheduled.  These contingency plans include a myriad of possible locations all of which can support rehearsals while allowing for whatever Safe at Work rules will be in place at the time.  Should performance locations not accept audiences we will be offering quality video and/or audio for our parents and supporters so all may have a record of the event.


It is sometimes assumed that the climaxes of a youth orchestral program are the performances themselves but nothing could be further from the truth.  In reality, concerts are just the icing on cake!  LYO rehearsals embody the LYO mission of providing a high-quality musical experience and these rehearsals offer “stand alone” educational involvement for our entire membership.  Over 125 hours of member education for will take place during this coming season offered at an hourly rate of approximately $3.96!  Economically, that’s hard to beat!


Along with all the other great things the LYO has to offer we can’t forget that it’s just great fun!  And the LYO staff is going to make it even more entertaining and enjoyable than ever before.  How does a mask with the LYO logo emblazoned on it sound to you?


You can find all you need to know at  Register now and have the rest of the summer to perfect your video audition!


The process of turning lemons into lemonade is well under way at the Louisville Youth Orchestra.  

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.  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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