Youth Orchestras | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Youth Orchestras

Canadian youth orchestras fall into three main categories: those attached to public and private schools (including universities, colleges, conservatories, and camps); those connected to and supported by adult community or professional orchestras; and those which represent a city or region and are a young counterpart of the community orchestras.

Among the earliest youth orchestras in Canada were the Manitoba Schools' Orchestra (Greater Winnipeg Schools' Orchestra), founded in 1923, the Mount Royal College (Calgary) Junior Orchestra (founded as the Baby Symphony Orchestra in 1937), the Vancouver Junior Symphony Orchestra, begun in 1938, and the Inter-Schools Orchestra of Montreal, organized in 1945. The increase in numbers of adult orchestras in Canada after 1950 created a new demand for home-trained musicians, and many youth orchestras were organized as part of the response to that demand. By the 1960s what could be described as the youth orchestra movement was well under way, and the majority of the new youth orchestras provided not simply recreation for young players but serious professional instruction in instrumental techniques and ensemble playing, the instruction provided in some cases by players in the region's senior orchestras, in others by specialist teachers employed by schools.

Of the youth orchestras formed after 1960 several were subdivided according to age and musical ability. Many accepted members as young as 7 or 8, and some admitted players as old as 30. Some were created to provide the player with a transitional step towards a career in a full-time orchestra. Among these were the Canadian Chamber Orchestra of the Banff SFA, the Montreal Junior Symphony Orchestra, the OJQ, the NYO, and the orchestral training program established at the RCMT in 1980.

Major Canadian organizations involved in the youth orchestra movement have been the JMC (YMC), which presents concerts throughout the country, the Youth Orchestra Committee of the OFSO, and the Canadian Association of Youth Orchestras (CAYO)/Assn des orchestres de jeunes du Canada (AOJC).

The CAYO, which is based in Banff, Alta, was incorporated in January 1977, although its roots go back to the first Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras, held in Banff in April 1974, and again in 1976. Founding directors of the CAYO (the youth-orchestra counterpart of the ACO) were Neil M. Armstrong, Rolf Duschenes, Douglas Lauchlan, Gerald Ross, and Frank Simpson. The association's prime concern has been the provision and stimulation of performance and training opportunities for young musicians in Canada. In this connection it has overseen and sponsored the biennial Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras, initiated at Banff in 1974 to provide a brief but stimulating experience of intensive training for a selected number of youth orchestras (approximately six per festival). Participating instructors have included the violinists Joan Barrett, Lorand Fenyves, Gerard Kantarjian, Eugene Kash, John Loban, Robert Skelton, and Gwen Thompson, the violists Ralph Aldrich, Stephen Kondaks, and Nicholas Pulos, the cellists Claude Kenneson and Eric Wilson, the bassists Gary Karr and Jeffrey L. Stokes, the flutists Robert Aitken and Jan Kocman, the oboist Stewart Grant, the clarinetist James Campbell, the bassoonist George Zukerman, members of Canadian Brass, and the conductors John Avison, Alexander and Boris Brott, John Carewe, Oskar Danon, Franz-Paul Decker, Victor Feldbrill, Agnes Grossmann, Janos Sandor, Simon Streatfeild, and Georg Tintner. The 1978 festival was the subject of a CBC Musicamera TV documentary. An offshoot of the CAYO is the Association of Canadian Youth Orchestra Conductors, formed in 1976, whose workshops have been held in conjunction with the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras.

In 1979, at the time of the CAYO's annual meeting in Montreal, the Quebec Association of Youth Orchestras/Assn des orchestres de jeunes du Québec was established and the first Festival des orchestres de jeunes du Québec was presented.

The appended list provides brief descriptions of some Canadian youth orchestras; most were members of the CAYO in 1991 and some were members of the ACO and/or the OFSO through their respective parent orchestras. The CAYO had 32 members in 1991. With a few exceptions school orchestras have not been included. (See also Education; Orchestras; Summer camps and schools; Universities.)

British Columbia

Delta Youth Orchestra. Operated by the Delta Symphony Society. Founding conductor Harry Gomez served 1971-84; successors have been Garth Williams 1984-5 and Lloyd Blackman 1985-90. In 1991 the society operated five ensembles comprised of 100 to 120 students (most from the greater Vancouver area), gave 15-22 concerts annually, and offered a sholarship program. The orchestra made private recordings in 1973 and 1976 and commissioned and premiered Centennial Suite by Ryszard Wrzaskala in 1979. The senior orchestra toured Germany, Holland, Austria, and Switzerland in summer 1988.


Calgary Junior Philharmonic
Calgary Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. Founded in 1957 for students in Calgary schools. This orchestra of 75 players of 12 to 18 years was under the auspices of the city's public and separate school boards and the Calgary Philharmonic. Conductors included Jack Mirtle and Frank Simpson.


Regina Inter-Collegiate Orchestra. Active 1962-83 under the auspices of the Regina Board of Education. Its 80 members were selected from secondary school students of 12 to 18 years. A 22-member chamber orchestra drawn from its ranks attended the 1974 Festival of Canadian Youth Orchestras in Banff. The founding conductor, Lloyd Blackman, was succeeded by Brenda McAlpine in the early 1980s.


Winnipeg Youth Orchestras (known 1939-62 as the Manitoba Schools' Orchestra and later as the Greater Winnipeg Schools' Orchestra). It was founded in 1923 by P.G. Padwick for young musicians of 8 to 18 years. Under a succession of names in its early years (eg, Winnipeg Junior SO), it began its unique series of weekly Saturday morning concert-rehearsals on radio station CKY in 1927. These rehearsals were joined 'on air' at home by music students throughout the province. Each Easter the radio members would gather in Winnipeg for a massed concert which also was broadcast. This practice, in effect until Padwick's death in 1938, was resumed in 1940 and continued intermittently until 1949. The name adopted in 1939 reflected the broad membership and objectives of the orchestra. In 1945 provincial tours supplanted the annual massed concerts. In 1949 the orchestra was divided into junior and senior levels, and in 1962 the senior orchestra was re-named the Greater Winnipeg Schools' SO. As of 1983 the Winnipeg Youth Orchestras consisted of 3 training orchestras. Following Padwick's death conductors included Ronald Gibson, Filmer Hubble, Glen Pierce, Eric Adams, Frances Port, Arthur Polson, Richard Seaborn, and Carlisle Wilson (see Wilson family); Christine Longhurst was conductor in 1988.

Takoski, Leonard T. 'A history of the Manitoba Schools' Orchestra 1923 to 1964,' unpublished M ED thesis, University of Manitoba 1965


Bach Youth Ensemble, Toronto. Chamber orchestra established in 1971 by Patrick Burroughs. During the five years of its existence it presented annual series of concerts and toured in western Canada and France.


Ensemble classique optimiste de Sherbrooke. See Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de Sherbrooke.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick Youth Orchestra

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, Halifax. Founded in 1977 under the conductorship of Robert Raines. Raines was succeeded by Stanley Fisher in 1984, and Fisher by Georg Tintner in 1988.The orchestra attended the 1980 Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras in Banff and has performed with Symphony Nova Scotia.


Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra. Founded in 1981 under the aegis of the Newfoundland SO. It has aimed to provide its 50 members (aged 12 to 24) with a wide variety of performing experience, including concerts with choirs, ballet companies, and soloists from the orchestra. The orchestra's founding director, Peter Gardner, continued in that position in 1991. The orchestra has participated in the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras at Banff and took part in an Exchange with the Montreal Civic Youth Orchestra in 1985. It has toured Newfoundland and Labrador.

Greater Victoria Schools

Greater Victoria Schools Senior Symphony Orchestra. Outgrowth of the Greater Victoria School District string program initiated in 1957. For musicians of 14 to 18 years. In 1968 the conductor was Thomas Tucker. The orchestra's activities were taken over by the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra.

Greater Victoria Youth

Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra; 75-member training orchestra founded in 1986 by Stuart Knussen with the support of the University of Victoria, the Victoria Cons, and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Knussen until his death in January 1990. Players have been of high-school to university age, have given three annual concerts and toured local communities in 1989. Interim conductors were engaged for the period immediately following Knussen's death; in 1991 Marlin Wolfe was appointed music director designate.


Kamloops Intermediate Orchestra; ensemble of 30-36 members and founded in September 1987 by conductor Betty Patterson (succeeded in 1990 by Irene Whitfield). The orchestra has performed three programs annually in Kamloops, each repeated in a neighbouring community. Concerts were held 1987-90 at Kamloops United Church and, beginning in 1990, at Sahali Fellowship Church. Guest performers have been the Kamloops Youth Choir, the Ogopogo Brass, and soloists chosen from the orchestra's annual concerto competition, begun in 1989.

Kamloops Youth Orchestra. Founded in the mid-1970s and affiliated with the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra. Conductors have included Victoria Kereluk. In the 1930s A. Nelson McMurdo, school music director, established a 100-member schools orchestra. Although activities were suspended during World War II, McMurdo increased participation by the city's pupils until by 1949 Kamloops boasted a 140-member junior symphony orchestra, a 100-member preparatory junior orchestra, and a 60-member string orchestra. No longer active.


Kelowna Music Society Junior Orchestra. Established in the 1970s. A 60-member orchestra of music students of all ages, coached by members of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra. No longer active; its activities were carried on by the Youth Symphony of the Okanagan.


Surrey Youth Orchestra. Founded in 1976 as the Genstar Youth Orchestra of Surrey, an independent organization with junior and senior divisions. It adopted its current name in 1987. Conductors have included Patricia Olfrey 1976-9, Ian Hampton 1979-82, and Lucille Lewis beginning in 1982. Toni Stanick directed the junior group in 1991. The senior orchestra's 35 players have performed in regional workshops with youth orchestras in British Ccolumbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan; give an average of 8 concerts annually; and have toured to Banff, Saskatoon, and in 1991 to the Harrogate International Youth Music festival in England. Its principal concert hall in 1991 was the Surrey Arts Centre Theatre. Under the auspices of the Surrey Symphony Society the orchestra sponsors an annual scholarship competition.


Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra. Founded in 1938 by the Vancouver Symphony Society as the Vancouver Junior Symphony Orchestra. Original membership numbered about 45. Instigated in 1930 by the flautist Cyril R. Haworth and a group of youths aged 18 to 30 in West Vancouver with the aim to study and perform a complete symphony each season. The 45-member orchestra gave its first public concert 27 May 1932 under George Coutts. The ensemble was known variously as The Vancouver Young People's Symphony Orchestra, The Vancouver Little Symphony, and The Vancouver Junior SO. It was managed by the Vancouver Symphony Society 1938-45, after which the orchestra was under the auspices of the Junior Symphony Society of Vancouver (renamed the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra Society in 1982), which sponsored youth orchestras and founded the Courtenay Youth Music Centre. By the 1960s a three-level system of preparatory, junior, and senior orchestras was in effect and by 1990 each ensemble performed four to eight times per year. Conductors have included Lloyd Blackman, Gaspare Chiarelli, John Chlumecky, George Coutts, Jean de Rimanoczy, Gregori Garbovitsky, Jerold Gerbrecht, Harry Gomez, Derrick Inouye, Adolph Koldofsky, Frederick Nelson, Alex Pauk, Arthur Polson, Simon Streatfeild, Garth Williams, and Marlin Wolfe. In 1987 the senior orchestra made a two-week tour under Wolfe of the USSR, Sweden, and Finland. Membership is open to young players of 7 to 21 years.


Youth Symphony of the Okanagan; orchestra of 30 players, aged 10 to 17. Established with the support of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and private donations, it was formed in November 1989 as the Okanagan Youth Symphony Orchestra and began to operate autonomously in 1990. Imant Raminsh is the orchestra's founding conductor and music director. In its 1990-1 season the orchestra repeated each of its two annual programs in Kelowna, Penticton, and Vernon. The orchestra has featured student soloists and has collaborated with the Young Scott Singers, directed by Elizabeth Scott.

Chambers, Pam. Sixty Years of Music Making: The Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra, 1930-1990 (Vancouver 1990)


Calgary Youth Orchestra. Established in 1968 by its conductor, Frank Simpson, for student musicians of 14 to 21 years, and affiliated with Mount Royal College. The orchestra has made major biennial tours, including visits to Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Players are coached by members of the Calgary Philharmonic and have annually presented a 'Youth at the Centre' concert at Jack Singer Concert Hall in which the orchestra performs with other community musical groups. It has performed at the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras at Banff, Alta. Conductors have included John Thompson and, in 1990, Nicholas Pulos.


Edmonton Youth Orchestra. Ensemble founded in 1952 and conducted until 1955 by Keith Bissell. By 1965 it had 65 members of 11 to 18 years. A junior orchestra was formed in 1978. It participated in the 1972 International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Switzerland and had attended the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras at Banff 7 times by 1990. Membership in both orchestras was 120 in 1990. In 1988 the senior group performed with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and toured eastern Canada. In 1989 it gave an eight-concert tour of eastern Canada and by 1990 it had represented Canada at four international festivals. Members of the Edmonton SO have coached sectional rehearsals. Conductors have included John Barnum, Ted Kardash, George Naylor, Ranald Shean, Edgar Williams, and beginning in 1977, Michael Massey, who continued as conductor in 1991.

Grande Prairie College

Grande Prairie College/Conservatory String Orchestra, Grande Prairie; 18-member ensemble founded in 1987 by conductor Gilbert Hill as part of the College's community music program. The orchestra, comprised of students of 8 to 18 years, has given 2 concerts annually in the College Theatre.

Mount Royal

Mount Royal College Symphony Orchestra, Calgary. See Mount Royal College Conservatory of Music and Speech Arts.

Southern Alberta

Southern Alberta Youth Orchestra, Calgary. Established in the early 1960s as part of Calgary's three-level system of youth orchestras. Open to players of 15 to 20 years. Conductors included John Murray.

South Peace

South Peace Youth Orchestra, Grande Prairie. Formed in 1973 as a training orchestra within the Grande Prairie Regional College community program. Its members were drawn from both the city and the surrounding area. Conductors included John Hancock. It ceased activities in 1980.


Saskatoon Youth Orchestra. Founded by Murray Adaskin in 1958 as the Saskatoon Junior Symphony Orchestra under the auspices of the Saskatoon Symphony Society and the Kiwanis Club. In 1973 it became part of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra's Orchestral Development Program and in the 1977-8 season adopted the name Saskatoon Youth Orchestra. In 1983 it became independent of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. It has included the Saskatoon Strings for younger players, a double bass program, and an orchestra that has ranged from 50 to 90 members for students ages 13 to 22. Conductors have included Adaskin, Ruben Gurevich, Jack Johnson, David Kaplan, Dwaine Nelson, Michael Bowie, Mel Carey, Alfred Dahl, Bok-Soo Kim, François Myrand, Jeremy Zank, Fred Nelson, Alexander Reisman and, beginning in 1983, Wayne J. Toews and George Charpentier. The orchestra has commissioned works by Jack Johnson and Susan Bond-Hurka, and premiered compositions by Gareth Cook, Piotr Grella-Mozejko, David Kaplan, Monte Keene Pishny-Floyd, Linda Purves, Elizabeth Raum, and Wayne Toews. Beginning in 1984 it has performed annually with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. It won the Canadian Music Educators' Association's Christopher Gledhill Award six successive times 1993-2005. The orchestra has been the subject of documentaries on CTV and CBC Radio and TV. The Saskatoon Youth Orchestra participated in the Canadian Association of Youth Orchestras festivals in Banff 1988, 1990 and 1992 as well as in the 1996 and 1998 Banff International Festival of Youth Orchestras, and in the 1999 and 2001 Festival of Quebec Youth Orchestras in Laval, Quebec. The orchestra produced recordings in 1988, 1989 and 2008.

Another orchestra of the same name and conducted by Daphne Marshall existed 1959-65 under the auspices of the Saskatoon Board of Education.


Saskatchewan Youth Orchestra, Regina. Founded in 1967 under the auspices of the Regina Board of Education, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Saskatchewan Dept of Education, and the SMEA. For students of 12 to 19 years. Conductors have included Lloyd Blackman.

South Saskatchewan

South Saskatchewan Youth Orchestra, Regina. 55-member orchestra founded in 1977, sponsored by the Regina Symphony Orchestra, and conducted by Ernest Kassian. Age range of the players is 13 to 23. The orchestra performed Elizabeth Raum'sFantasy for Double Orchestra with the Regina SO in 1988. It has participated in the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras and toured China and Japan in 1986. Kathryn Laurin was music director in 1988.

Kozma, Andrew. 'Varied program at Sunday concert,' Regina Leader-Post, 25 Apr 1979


Brantford Youth Orchestra. Founded in 1967 under the auspices of the Brantford Board of Education and the Brantford Symphony Orchestra for players of 10 to 18 years. Conductors have included Claude Chislett, Stanley Saunders, and Barry Devereux.


Cambrian Youth Orchestra, Sudbury. See Sudbury Youth Orchestra.


Guelph Youth Orchestra. Established in 1978 by a committee of the Guelph Arts Council, which appointed Patrick Burroughs conductor and musical director in 1978. Subsequent conductors have been Erik Schultz 1981-5, Kathryn Laurin 1985-6, succeeded by Victor Sawa, who continued to hold the position in 1990. In 1986 the orchestra began to take some of its members from the music dept at the University of Guelph. It participated in the 1988 Festival des orchestres de jeunes de Québec and has twice participated in the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras in Banff. In 1990 its 55 members, aged 12 to 23 years, presented three concerts annually.


Halton Youth Symphony. Founded as the Oakville Youth Symphony in 1975 under the auspices of the Oakville Symphony Orchestra, but which in 1991 operated autonomously. It has also been known as the Halton-Peel Youth Symphony and the Sheridan Symphony. Early conductors included Jean Grieve and Harold Clarkson. Its members in 1991 were aged 8 to 18 and gave concerts in Burlington, Georgetown, Oakville, and Milton. Conductors in 1991 were Robert Baines, Rosalie Zelonka, and Richard Blechta.


Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Founded in 1965 for players of 12 to 24 years by Glenn Mallory (still the conductor in 1991), under the auspices of the Hamilton Philharmonic Society. It attended the 1980 Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras in Banff. Players are coached by members of the Hamilton Philharmonic. The orchestra participated in the OFSO youth orchestra festival in Sudbury in 1987 and the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras in Banff in 1988.


Huronia Symphony Youth Orchestra, Barrie and Orillia; Founded in 1973 under the auspices of the Huronia Symphony Orchestra and conducted by John Montague, who was succeeded in turn by Arthur Burgin in 1980 and Carolyn Burgar in 1990. The Orillia branch was formed in 1981 under the direction of Mayumi Kumagai.

Sarnia and Port Huron

International Youth Orchestra of Sarnia and Port Huron. Founded in 1976 (as the International Youth String Orchestra of sarnia and Port Huron)with members and board drawn from Sarnia, Ont, and Port Huron, Mich, and under the auspices of the International Symphony Orchestra of Sarnia and Port Huron. The founding conductor Richard Lawrence was succeeded by Amy Clodgo, who retained the position in 1990.

International Youth Symphony

International Youth Symphony, Windsor, Ont, and Detroit, Mich. Founded in 1965 by Matti Holli under the auspices of the International Youth Symphony Executive Committee. Membership open to players under 21. Holli was succeeded as conductor by William Bruce Curry.


Kingston Youth Orchestra. Founded in 1968 under the auspices of the Kingston Symphony. Conductors have included Edouard Bartlett, Clifford Crawley, and James Coles. In 1991 Coles remained music director, assisted by co-conductor Robert Clark. The orchestra, made up of some 60 members aged 13 to 25, continued in 1991 to give 4 regular concerts annually and other additional appearances.


Kitchener-Waterloo Junior Symphony. Founded in 1967 under the auspices of the Kitchener Waterloo SO Association. For players 13 and older. The conductors have included Raffi Armenian, Stuart Knussen, Louis Lavigueur, and Frédéric Pohl; Victor Sawa became conductor in 1983. The orchestra has participated in the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras in Banff.


London Youth Symphony. Founded in 1961 under the auspices of the Junior Women's Committee of the London SO Association. For players aged 13 to 23. It has performed at the 1976 International Festival of Youth Orchestras at Aberdeen, Scotland, at four Festivals of Youth Orchestras in Banff (1974, 1978, 1986, 1990), and at OFSO festivals in 1985 and 1989. Conductors have included Derek Stannard, James H. White 1978-80, Jerome Summers 1980-3, Ivars Taurins 1983-6, Steve Wolsley 1985-7, and Edit Haboczki 1988-91, succeeded by Summers. The orchestra supports two associated ensembles: the London Youth Symphony Young Strings - formed in 1987 and which in 1990 had some 60 players, aged 9 to 16 - and the 35-member London Youth Symphony Wind Ensemble (for ages 12 to 20), formed in 1989. The orchestra has given three concerts annually.


Niagara Youth Orchestra, St Catharines, Ont. Founded in 1965, with 69 members aged 12 to 16, as the St Catharines Junior Symphony. It was renamed St Catharines Youth Orchestra in 1968 and Niagara Youth Orchestra in 1979. Under the auspices of the St Catharines SO (Niagara Symphony Orchestra) it developed from the School String Ensemble formed in 1961 by Paul van Dongen. Van Dongen was succeeded as conductor by Richard Grymonpre, and Grymonpre by Tak-Ng Lai, who retained the position in 1991. The orchestra attended the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras in 1974, 1980, 1982, and 1988 in Banff. It premiered Milton Barnes'Legends for Orchestra in 1986 and made European tours in 1986 and 1990. In 1991 it had 70-75 members aged 10 to 21 and presented three subscription concerts and one chamber concert annually.


Ottawa Youth Orchestra. Founded in 1960 by H.E. Morris and M.H. Haycock and run as a night class of the adult division of the Ottawa Board of Education for members of Ottawa and Hull secondary schools and universities. It operated until 1981; conductors were James Coles, Dirk Keetbaas Sr, and Brian Law. The name was acquired in 1986 for the senior orchestra of the National Capital String Academy (later the National Capital Music Academy), formed in 1982 by Peter Morris, Victor Pomer and John Gomez. By 1991 the 60-member senior orchestra was presenting three concerts annually at Centrepointe Theatre and had collaborated with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and the Ottawa Regional Youth Choir. The Academy, with some 190 pupils aged 8 to 19 of string, wind, and brass instruments, and aided by municipal grants, operated five orchestras of various levels in 1991. It began a summer camp in 1984. The orchestral program was subsequently expanded to include choir and harp, and to offer elementary, intermediate and senior-level instruction. In 2002 the umbrella organization was renamed Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy. The senior Ottawa Youth Orchestra (in the early 2000s 66 members aged 13-19) continued to perform concerts at various locations, including the National Arts Centre, under John Gomez. Additionally, the orchestra has performed in Banff (1992, National Youth Orchestra Festival); England (1997); Wales and Ireland (2004); and Hungary and Austria (2008). It has performed Godfrey Ridout's Fall Fair and John Burge's The Canadian Shield, and commissioned The Great Northern Diver from Robert Rival. Orchestra members have gone on to careers as orchestral musicians and in popular music (eg Kathleen Edwards).

Orchestre de la francophonie canadienne

Ottawa-based orchestra founded in 2001 by conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay to perform at the Games of La Francophonie. The orchestra debuted 1 Jul 2001 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It then established its annual program of a two-week summer residency in Ottawa and sometimes Montreal, for 65-75 musicians aged 18-30, followed by a concert tour. Tours have taken the orchestra to Montreal, Quebec City, Kingston, Stratford, and other locations in Quebec, Ontario, P.E.I. and New Brunswick. The Orchestre de la francophonie canadienne has performed at the National Arts Centre, Festival international du Domaine Forget, and Festival international de Lanaudière, and has recorded for Analekta. World premieres include Olivier Larue's Eaux (18 Jul 2003) and Scott Good's Cry (28 Jul 2007), both at the National Arts Centre. The violinists Jonathan Crow, Alexandre da Costa, and Lara St. John, and pop singers Mario Pelchat and Jean-Pierre Ferland, have performed with the orchestra. In Dec 2006, the orchestra toured China.


Peterborough Symphony Youth Orchestra. Founded in 1974 under the auspices of the Peterborough SO. For players of 6 to 25 years. Conductors have included Peter Bartley and George Pyper.


Riverdale String Ensemble, Cornwall, Ont. Founded in 1969 by its conductor, Rosemonde Laberge. Membership open to Cornwall elementary and secondary school students of 8 to 18 years


Sudbury Youth Orchestra. Founded in 1972 as the Cambrian Youth Orchestra with a membership of players of 14 to 23 years. It changed its name in 1983 but has continued under the auspices of Cambrian College, which provides rehearsal and concert facilities. Founding conductor Metro Kozak continued to conduct the orchestra in 1991. The orchestra has two divisions - junior, ca 30 players aged 6 to 13 and senior, ca 40 players aged 13 to 22. Several of the latter play in the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra presents two programs annually. It attended the 1980 and1984 Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras at Banff, and premiered Gary Kulesha'sDrift of the Stars in 1989 with the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Boy and Girl Choristers of St George's Cathedral.

Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay Symphony Youth Orchestra. Founded as the Lakehead Youth Symphony Orchestra under the auspices of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. The conductors have included Dwight Bennett, Charles Burke, Timothy Maloney, Kirk Trevor, Marcella Smiths, Gary Edrington, and, beginning in 1986, Diane Trylinski Garrett.

Toronto Chinese Youth

Toronto Chinese Youth Orchestra; ensemble of 15-25 members aged 8 to 25 formed in 1984 under the auspices of the Toronto Chinese Chamber Orchestra (later the Toronto Chinese Philharmonic Orchestra), the latter its counterpart member of the Chinese Canadian Music Society of Ontario. Under music director Tak-Ng Lai, the ensemble's conductor in 1991 was John Liddle. The orchestra has performed three times annually in programs that have included works by Somers, Klein, and in 1991 the premiere of Alice Ho's Jubilation of Spring. The orchestra also performs traditional Chinese repertoire arranged for orchestra.

Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra

Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. Founded in 1974 under the auspices of the TS. Of all Canadian youth orchestras associated with a professional orchestra, the TSYO is perhaps the most closely linked to its parent. Its 80-85 members are coached by faculty drawn from the TS - in 1991 David Hetherington, cello; Thomas Monohan, double bass; Eugene Rittich, brass; Kent Teeple, viola; Joaquin Valdepeñas, woodwinds; and David Zafer, violin - and have had master classes with visiting artists such as, Jeanne Baxtresser, Rivka Golani, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Itzhak Perlman, and Pinchas Zuckerman. Membership is open to players 22 years of age and under; all members reaudition annually. Each season the orchestra gives at least three concerts plus one joint appearance with the TS. Conductors have included been Victor Feldbrill 1974-8, Leonard Atherton 1978-9, Ermanno Florio 1979-86, and Nurhan Arman 1986-8, succeeded by Zafer. Guest conductors have included Andrew Davis, Gunther Herbig, Kurt Sanderling, and Simon Streatfeild. The orchestra attended the 1980 Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras and the 1991 Festival of Youth Orchestras in Boston, has participated in exchanges with the Montreal Civic Youth Orchestra (1981) and the Youth Orchestra of Greater Fort Worth, Texas (1982), and has toured to the Netherlands and England (1985) and to Whitehorse and Inuvik (1989). For the latter tour, the orchestra commissioned Harry Somers' Sonata for Wind Orchestra (premiered in Toronto in 1989). The orchestra has collaborated in performances with the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus and with pupils of the National Ballet School.

Toronto Youth Symphony Orchestra

Toronto Youth Symphony Orchestra. Founded in 1967 and conducted by Jacob Groob until its demise in 1972. Its personnel was made up of players of 14 to 21 years. It performed at the 1969 International Festival of Youth Orchestras in St Moritz, Switzerland.

Scott-Patterson, Helen. 'Youth Orchestra,' TS News, vol 40, no. 7, 1979-80

Fitzgerald, John. 'In pursuit of excellence,' TS Magazine, vol 40, issue 6, 1985

Mason, Donna. 'Young musicians: how they met a big challenge,' CanComp, 31, Jul-Aug 1968

'Ontario-Québec orchestra exchanges: International Youth Symphony,' OCan, vol 7, Jan 1980

Philips, Dr J.H.H. 'Paul van Dongen: eleven years of service to the youth of St. Catharines,' OCan, vol 4, Mar 1977


McGill Symphony Orchestra. Founded by Harry Crane Perrin in 1909, at which time its 45 members were largely recruited from outside the music program at McGill. Later conductors included Reginald de Havilland Tupper and Douglas Clarke. In 1991 the orchestra consisted of some 100 students from the university's Faculty of Music, selected by audition. The orchestra has been conducted by Alexander Brott (1960-71), Michel Perrault, Neil Chotem, Antonio Narducci (1971-2), Eugene Plawutsky (1972-6), Uri Mayer (1976-82), Richard Hoenich (1982-6), and Timothy Vernon (1986-). It gives some 15 concerts annually; the performances are held in Pollack Hall, St-Jean-Baptiste Church, the NAC, and PDA. The orchestra also accompanies performances by McGill's choirs and by Opera McGill (McGill Opera Studio). Unpublished works by student or faculty composers are performed each year. In 1989 the McGill SO became the first Canadian university orchestra to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York. It has won numerous prizes for its recordings, including a Juno Award and two honorable mentions from the Canadian Music Council.

Montreal Junior Symphony Orchestra

Montreal Junior Symphony Orchestra. Founded in 1947 by Lewis V. Elvin for players of 11 to 19 years. The orchestra toured in Great Britain in 1954, in continental Europe in 1961, and in Scandinavia in 1963. Elvin was succeeded as conductor by Eugène Husaruk in 1971. In 1977 Joseph Milo became conductor of the reorganized orchestra of 40 players of 17 to 27 years.

Montreal Symphony Youth Orchestra

Montreal Symphony Youth Orchestra / Orchestre Symphonique des jeunes de Montréal (Montreal Civic Youth Orchestra/Orchestre civique des jeunes de Montréal, 1976-89). Founded in 1976 by Sandra Wilson, it has been conducted by Jacques Clément 1976-86, succeeded by Louis Lavigueur in 1986. The ca 60 members are aged 13 to 25 years. It gives three concerts annually at Salle Claude-Champagne and additional appearances elsewhere. A ca 20-member chamber orchestra of musicians from the larger group was formed in 1989. In 1990 the orchestra premiered François Tousignant'sDeux Études pour Shayol, and in 1991 on the occasion of its 15th anniversary it premiered Anne Lauber'sConcerto for piano and orchestra. In 1980 it recorded Lauber's score for the film L'Affaire Coffin under the composer's direction (SNE 503). In 1986 it visited Scotland to participate in a festival in Aberdeen.

Montreal Youth Symphony Orchestra

Montreal Youth Symphony Orchestra/Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de Montréal. Founded by Fernand Graton in 1945, the 60-member ensemble of players of 13 to 25 years was active until 1951. The orchestra premiered Pépin'sConcerto No. 1 (with the composer at the piano), Perrault's Petite Suite, Morel's Diptyque, Matton'sDanse brésilienne, Blackburn'sCharpente, and Papineau-Couture'sSymphony No. 1


Orchestre des jeunes de Chicoutimi. Founded in 1967 by its conductor, Yvon Gaudreault, with 60 players of 10 to 18 years.


Orchestre des jeunes du Québec (OJQ)


Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de Joliette. Founded in 1971 by its conductor, Father Rolland Brunelle. Players of 9 to 19 years are drawn from the Joliette region. The MACQ sponsored a tour of the province in 1976, and that same year the orchestra attended the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras and the 1979 Festival des orchestres de jeunes in Montreal. Brunelle also formed a junior orchestra of players of 7 to 12 years.


Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de Sherbrooke. Ensemble of 75 players aged 13 to 20, founded in 1974 as the Ensemble classique optimiste de Sherbrooke by the Optimist Club of Sherbrooke. Czeslaw Gladyszewski, the conductor 1974-7, was succeeded by Jacques Clément. Marc David became conductor in 1986. The orchestra attended the 1978 Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras and performed at the 1979 Festival des orchestres de jeunes in Montreal.

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