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.

Dear LYO Parents and Members,

I hope this message finds you as well as possible during these difficult and traumatic times.  Please know the LYO staff and board are thinking of you as we work to sail through these troubled waters.

It is with deep disappointment that I must let you know our final concert of the season at Iroquois Amphitheater on Sunday, April 26 must be cancelled.  The Derby has been moved to September and all Derby Festival Events are not able to take place.  In addition, given that Kentucky schools will be closed at least until April 20 and Indiana schools until at least May 1, the LYO has no rehearsal space for our Repertory Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra and Horizons Ensembles.

It is disheartening that we will not be able to be together one last time before biding our talented and dedicated seniors farewell.  Please know that our hearts are with you and that we wish you the highest success in your chosen path going forward.  You will still receive your Beethoven score and participation certificate in the mail later in the spring.  Your name will also be listed on the LYO website as a graduating member to honor your musical accomplishments and dedication to this organization.  I know this a poor substitute for that final wonderful event where we can all be together as an artistic family, but the current situation leaves the LYO no choice.

Audition information will go live on the LYO website in early May.  Hopefully, by that time there will be a greater degree of stability in our lives.  The LYO staff has no doubt that the best is yet to come for this organization!  After sixty-one consecutive years of musical artistry we can't imagine it any other way!

We WILL see you in the fall for season sixty-two!

Thank you!


Melody Welsh-Buchholz

Executive Director

Louisville Youth Orchestra

All LYO activities are cancelled for the remainder of this season


Christian Howes Masterclass

Unfortunately, the Christian Howes Masterclass scheduled for March 14 had to be cancelled.  This was a major disappointment for both our members and many community musicians who had registered for the class.  Fortunately, Mr. Howe has agreed to provide some of his educational videos that he developed for string players and teachers.  We appreciate both his artistry and his generosity in making making these available:

His Done For You Video Lessons were created in response to school closings and activity cancellations like ours.

  • Watch the video on your computer, tablet, TV monitor, or phone, as long as you can get substantial volume

  • Set your phone to record on video OR Voice memo

  • Turn on his video on your computer, press record on your recording device, and play along to the video.

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)


Repertory Orchestra

Jason Hougland, Conductor

I chose to share a few pieces of music that changed my musical path and/or pushed me to grow as a musician. Listen to these and think about the music that has had a major impact on your growth. What would be on your list? I challenge you to use this time to grow more than ever as musicians. Listen, practice, listen, practice...

Wiener Philharmoniker / Leonard Bernstein

Gustav Mahler / Symphony no. 6 in A minor, Tragic

Berliner Philharmoniker / Zubin Mehta

Rimsky Korsakov / Capriccio Espagnol, Op 34

Chicago Symphony Orchestra / James Levine

Gustav Holst / The Planets - Mars, Bringer of War

Frank Sinatra - At The Sands (with Count Basie)

Come Fly With Me

John Coltrane / Blue Train

Chicago Transit Authority / Beginnings


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.


Serenade Orchestra

Elise Kotheimer-Gambrell, Conductor

"Spiccato" is a bowing technique for stringed instruments in which the bow appears to bounce lightly on the string.  We were working on perfecting this bow stroke in "Fantasia on a Theme from Thailand,"  and you should continue to work on this skill.  Here is a link to a masterclass on spiccato on the violin and here is a link to a masterclass on spiccato on the cello.


Also, has numerous resources for violinists from beginners to advanced players.  Almost any technique that you would like to learn can be found there!


A piece that we did not get to in your folders is "African Accents."  It is a fun, rhythmical and interesting piece that you might enjoy learning at home.  It is a piece for strings and percussion and incorporates folk songs from Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and the South African tribes of Zulu and Xhosa.  Try learning this piece and playing it along with the recording, and research the folk songs and their origins as you learn each one.  Also look up the locations and tribes on a map.  Here is a link to the recording.

I hope everyone is staying well and safe!  Keep practicing and improving!!


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!


Horizons Treble Ensemble

Katie McDonald, Coach

It's not too early to begin thinking about auditions for next season.  Here are some Tips and Tricks for Audition Success you may find helpful.

I think you'll enjoy hearing Gina Luciani's Lord of the Rings cover. This is a cover of one of the pieces we began to rehearse for the Iroquois concert. Enjoy!

Jolene Harju Madewell is a flutist in Texas who has a blog called Practice Room Revelations. She provides so many wonderful ideas that can enhance your journey of being a musician! Read her blog posts and watch her videos. You won't regret it!


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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