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HomeWho We AreBYSO Today
BYSO Today
Excellence in music making at BYSO is, uniquely, both a goal and a means. Every year, hundreds of young musicians participate in ensemble and training programs coached by Boston’s finest musicians and educators. They perform repertoire that is above the level of any other youth orchestra in our country, both in difficulty, maturity and scope.

Simultaneously, something even more remarkable is happening.  Through BYSO, classical music ignites a passionate pursuit of excellence, perseverance, self-confidence and pride within our young musicians.  Our kids have a deep and life-changing experience during their time at BYSO, and it helps them develop into outstanding adults whatever their life path.  Kids are transformed by an experience this special and this unique, and it is clear that they take this transformation into all areas of their life—into their communities and subsequently passed on to future generations.

In the 56 years since its founding, BYSO has continuously elevated, enhanced and been driven to perfect, change and adapt to meet the dynamic needs of our students and communities.  Today we provide a rich and broad range of programs from chamber music to opera.  Our unique and extensive programming is rooted in quality, and delivered in a nurturing environment.

Nowhere else in the world can a child experience classical music in the unique way they can at BYSO. Programs and opportunities like our opera program exemplify the rare opportunity for a young musician to truly understand an area of repertoire that will enhance their artistic understanding on a larger scale.

In our Intensive Community Program, a kindergartner achieves artistic and personal success while progressively mastering a string instrument as part of a community based peer learning model.

Through our family concerts in partnership with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a shared understanding is achieved when our children perform classical music for other children.  


Widely regarded as one of the country’s finest youth orchestra programs, the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO) is recognized as a model organization in music and arts education. BYSO serves nearly 500 students from more than 120 communities throughout New England. Since 1958, BYSO has been in residence at Boston University.

The mission of BYSO is to encourage musical excellence in a professional and supportive environment by providing the highest quality orchestra training and performance opportunities to qualified musicians, grades K–12, and making its programs accessible to underserved communities through financial assistance and outreach.

Under the leadership of Music Director Federico Cortese, BYSO has become one of Boston’s most prestigious arts organizations with a programmatic scope that includes three full symphonic orchestras, six chamber orchestras, two string training orchestras, a preparatory wind ensemble, a chamber music program, and the Intensive Community Program, a nationally recognized string training program for underrepresented communities.

Boston Youth Symphony,  Federico Cortese Conductor, performing at Symphony Hall, October 2013 - Photo by Michael J. Lutch

BYSO has built a strong international presence with tour performances in worldrenowned venues.

Since 2008, Mr. Federico Cortese has incorporated a robust opera program and every year BYSO’s premier orchestra presents a full semi-staged opera.

In 2012 BYSO and Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announced a new partnership BYSO/BSO: Partnering for the Future.

Boston Youth Symphony members backstage at Symphony Hall, November 2013 - Photo by Stu Rosner

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Photos by Stu Rosner


Photo by Stu Rosner


Photo by Pamela Green


Photo by Stu Rosner

BYSO / BSO: Partnering for the Future
In residence at Boston University