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:

This year's Gheens Great Expectations Concert will be at 6:30 pm on February 5 in Whitney Hall.

It will feature the Louisville Orchestra, the Louisville Youth Orchestra's Symphony Orchestra, and the 2020 Gheens Artist Clayton Stephenson, piano.

The program will include works by Beethoven, Borodin, and Dvorak.  The concert is FREE and no tickets are required.

LYO's new video for the current 2019-20 season is now online.  It's a great overview for anyone who wants to know more about us:  potential members, families, patrons, media, etc.

Many people are amazed when they hear the LYO for the first time and the new video has some memorable excerpts from recent concerts.

Please note that there are also video excerpts from this season's concerts below on this home page.

Sea Change

Brown Theater, Nov 24, 4:00

This classical concert features the LYO Symphony, Repertory, and Concert Orchestras.

The program features music inspired by significant transformations of social and personal norms. Composers include Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Sibelius, Walker, and Massenet.

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


2019-2020 season highlights

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).

Musical Menangerie concert at Highland Hills Middle School on November 10 

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


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 behind 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 played 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:

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 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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