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About Us

Our Mission

To provide the highest quality musical experience that allows our students to grow as musicians and individuals, who then contribute to our nation's cultural landscape, as they become future artistic and community leaders.

Our Vision

To become the premier youth orchestra in the nation.


American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras (formerly the Northern Virginia Youth Symphony Association) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded by the Fairfax Symphony in 1964 and became independent in 1978. The flagship orchestra was named the American Youth Philharmonic (AYP) in 1993. The new name reflected not only the regional scope of its more than 100 young musicians from all over the metropolitan area but also the national acclaim and prestige the orchestra had earned in its first three decades. In 2003, the AYP became the Youth Orchestra in Residence at George Mason University's Center for the Arts.

Recognized as one of the leading orchestral training programs in the nation, AYPO provides competitive world-class training and performance opportunities for musicians up to 21 years of age. With a nationally recognized artistic staff, a dedicated professional staff, and a host of volunteers, AYPO annually selects and trains over 400 of the most talented young musicians. AYPO delivers programs of the highest caliber throughout the Washington metropolitan region, earning an unrivaled reputation for excellence and distinction. AYPO has represented youth in the arts through performances at Strathmore, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the National Orchestral Festival, the International Rachmaninoff Festival (Novgorod, Russia), the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (Scotland), the British Festival of Youth Orchestras, the Festival of Youth Orchestras (Chicago and Washington D.C.), and the Spoleto Festival (South Carolina). Through the orchestras, young people with a common interest, commitment, and discipline work together to achieve harmony and excellence. In concert, these young musicians share their remarkable achievement and appreciation for classical music with the community.

Consisting of four separate ensembles — the String Ensemble, Concert Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra, and Philharmonic — AYPO provides talented young people an opportunity to perform in one of this nation’s premier youth orchestra programs. Each of the orchestras rehearses on Monday evenings from September through May and prepares at least three programs of repertoire for performance. Musicians also have the opportunity to participate in the Chamber Ensemble Program and become mentors in the Music Buddies Program. AYPO accepts applicants based on their musical ability without regard to gender, race, religion, disability, or income.

The Orchestras are dependent on the generosity and support of givers who share in its mission and vision. The program is funded primarily by tuition; by concert admissions; through gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the Arts Council of Fairfax County. The Board of Directors gratefully acknowledges the musicians, parents and families; the artistic and administrative staff; the volunteers, donors and supporters; the arts community; and the audiences who have made this organization what it is today.