In 1957, Alphonse Carlo, concertmaster emeritus of the Florida Symphony Orchestra, recognized a need for a youth orchestra in Central Florida in which young musicians could develop their talents. Young musicians were invited to attend and participate in rehearsals with Florida Symphony Orchestra musicians, and the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra was born. Carlo nurtured the orchestra and served as its principal conductor for 15 years. In 1981, a second training orchestra was formed to meet the needs of the emerging music student. Today, in its 60th Concert Season, the FSYO comprises three full orchestras, one string training orchestra, a chamber ensemble, and, coming in fall 2017, a jazz orchestra. The FSYO is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Tours, Awards, and Collaborations
- In 1989, the FSYO premiered at Carnegie Hall, with a subsequent premiere at Boston's Symphony Hall in 1991.
- In summer 1993, the FSYO served as Cultural Youth Ambassadors in a performance tour to Basel, Switzerland, and Barcelona, Spain. The following spring, 1994, the FSYO hosted the Basel Orchestra in joint concerts in Orlando.
- During summer 1995, 60 FSYO musicians toured and performed in Great Britain.
- In summer 1996, the Englanders from the East Herts Music Centre Orchestra reciprocated and traveled to the U.S. to perform with the FSYO at Epcot, and for a standing room only concert at Seminole Community College.
- During summer 1997, the FSYO traveled to Australia to participate in the Sydney Youth Musicale, which included home-stays, concerts, and tours, culminating in a performance at the famous Sydney Opera House.
- In summer 1999, 46 FSYO musicians toured Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Prague for performances in Salzburg, Vienna and Marionkron, Austria and to compete in the 28th International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna. The FSYO Tour Orchestra won second place in the Youth Orchestra Division competing against European youth orchestras that included members up to age 29.
- The FSYO was extremely proud to be one of 6 youth orchestras from across the U.S. selected by audition to participate in the prestigious National Youth Orchestra Festival, summer 2002 in Sarasota, Florida.
- In summer 2004, the FSYO traveled to Washington, D.C., where the group performed with Martin Hackleman, the Principal Horn of the National Symphony, and took part in Master Classes with the Baltimore Symphony.
- The 2010 – 2011 Season brought internationally acclaimed violinist Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg to the FSYO for a series of rehearsals, culminating in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in concert with the Symphonic Orchestra for an audience of more than 1,200 at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre.
- The 2011 – 2012 Season brought a significant grant from the Josh Groban Foundation, leading to a backstage meet and greet for select FSYO members during Groban’s Straight to You Concert Tour.
- The 2012 – 2013 Season brought the creation of the Carl Rendek Scholarship Award, for which over $18,000.00 was raised. During the 2013 – 2014 season, FSYO launched its beginning violin program: Sing-Song, String-Along.
- During the 2015-2016 season, FSYO formed a new orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra led by Dr. Mauricio Céspedes Rivero.
- At the end of the 2015-2016 season, FSYO named Mr. Hanrich Claassen as Music Director for the 60th season.
- The FSYO is pleased to announce its Summer 2017 Tour to Austria! Students will participate in Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival in Vienna.
- FSYO is excited to announce its Jazz Orchestra, coming in Fall 2017.