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Youth Symphony Association of Kansas City, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Symphony Orchestras

Mission: The mission of the Youth Symphony of Kansas City it to provide educational opportunities for young musicians to perform before community-wide audiences and to inspire excellence in performance. The vision of the Youth Symphony is to educate young classical musicians so that each one has a life-long appreciation of classical music;  and to work toward a community where every citizen values classical music, attends concerts, supports music education in the schools and financially supports the arts .


The Youth Symphony offers five ensembles that enhance the classical music education of  musicians from third grade to age 21. Every musician must audition each year regardless of previous Youth Symphony participation. Youth Symphony orchestras are:  

Symphony Orchestra (10th grade-age 21), led by Conductor Steven Davis, an advanced full orchestra performing standard classical symphonic repertoire;

Academy Orchestra (8th-12th grade), an orchestra designed to prepare musicians for the Symphony Orchestra, led by Conductor Russ Berlin,  performing standard classical symphonic repertoire and some arrangements;  

Philharmonic Orchestra (7th-12th grade), led by Conductor Michelle Davis, an intermediate full orchestra that performs original compositions and arrangements of symphonic music;  

Symphonette  (5th-9th grade), led by Conductor Joe Keeney, a  full orchestra of beginning musicians performing arrangements and original orchestral works;  and 

String Orchestra (4th-7th grade), led by Conductor Gail Rowland, an introductory level string ensemble that performs arrangements of major composers and original orchestral works.

The Youth Symphony also offers additional enrichment activities such as two concerto competitions, special music coachings, the annual retreat, exchange programs with other youth orchestras such as the St. Louis Symphony  Youth Orchestra, collaborations with professional music organizations in Kansas City and community outreach programs.   

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