MISSION, HISTORY & TODAY
The San Jose Youth Symphony (SJYS) is located in San Jose, California, and is one of the oldest and finest youth orchestras in the West Coast of the United States. Founded six decades ago as part of the former San Jose Symphony, SJYS has a rich tradition of musical performance and education.
The San Jose Youth Symphony gives young people a foundation for life through orchestral music. We create programs that assure young musicians achieve technical proficiency, musical knowledge and an emotional connection to music. We strive to make each performance for the community uplifting, spirited and exciting.
SJYS was founded six decades ago in 1951 as part of the former San Jose Symphony and operated under the San Jose Symphony’s management until 2001, when the San Jose Symphony ceased operation. To preserve and continue the unique ability of SJYS to provide the musical education needs of children in San Jose and neighboring communities, the parents of SJYS member musicians mobilized to form a Board of Directors and incorporate SJYS as an independent, non-profit organization. Not-for-profit 501(c)(3) status was granted in 2002.
The musicians of SJYS, ranging in age from 8 to 20, are chosen from more than 700 applicants through our annual auditions. SJYS comprises 12 distinct performing ensembles: two full orchestras, a chamber orchestra, two flute choirs, two string ensembles, jazz, concert winds, percussion and harp ensembles. Each orchestra and ensemble performs a scheduled series of concerts every season. SJYS ensembles rehearse weekly from September through early June. In addition, its musicians participate in three different weeklong summer camps every July and August. Orchestra musicians receive sectional coaching from professional musicians to supplement their work with SJYS artistic staff. SJYS musicians also attend strings and winds masterclasses.
As part of its educational outreach activities, SJYS offers music classes at local schools in San Jose through its Music Matters program.