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Founded in 1958, the Louisville Youth Orchestra (LYO) is a nonprofit organization that offers an engaging and enriching instrumental ensemble experience to nurture a lifelong love of music. The LYO currently serves over 250 students from 16 counties throughout Kentucky and southern Indiana. We love creating community among young musicians and bringing them together based on a shared desire to learn and perform exciting instrumental music.


The LYO fuels the passion and growth of young musicians through extraordinary musical experiences

Guiding Values

The LYO is an inclusive and affirming organization that works to lift up all members of its diverse community. Find out more about our Guiding Values.

Orchestras & Ensembles

There are ensembles to fit all levels of preparation from beginner to advanced. Each orchestra and ensemble is led by its own highly qualified conductor.

Symphony Orchestra – the most advanced full orchestra of the LYO

Repertory Orchestra – intermediate to advanced full orchestra 

Concert Orchestra – intermediate string orchestra 

Serenade Orchestra – entry-level string orchestra

Horizons Ensembles – developing brass and woodwind ensembles

Percussion Ensemble – students of varying abilities can participate in percussion ensemble; advanced students may also place into the percussion sections of Symphony and Repertory Orchestras

Master Artists Chamber Players – chamber music opportunities for advanced students of the LYO, led by performing artists from NouLou Chamber Players.


Eligibility and Auditions
Membership in the LYO is open to young musicians through 20 years old. All members must audition each year prior to placement. Entry is based on proficiency rather than age. Learn more at All About Auditions.

Members are expected to participate in their school instrumental music programs and take private music lessons. LYO offers need-based scholarships to assist with the cost of private music lessons.

Student Handbook

Read or print a pdf copy of the 2023-24 Student Handbook.

Rehearsals for our 8 ensembles take place on Sunday afternoons at the St Matthews Pavilion and the Youth Performing Arts School. 


The membership fee for 2023-2024 is $550 total. Scholarships are available to assist with the cost of membership and awarded on the basis of need. There is also a $100 discount for each additional participating member within a family.

Other LYO Programs

The Louisville Youth Orchestra also provides weekly beginner strings classes in two Title I elementary schools. These Presto Strings classes are designed to break down barriers to strings training at an early age through completely free classes and the use of a free instrument.

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