History

1958:
The Piedmont Youth Symphony was formed by Frank West of Davidson College where it continued to meet until 1961.

1961:
This Youth Orchestra had its formal beginning when David Serrins, then Principal Oboe of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, obtained a combined sponsorship from the Mecklenburg County School System and the Queen City Optimist Club. Both David Serrins and Tom Lewis (Charlotte Symphony Orchestra members) conducted this orchestra.

1963-67:
Richard Cormier was hired as the first full-time conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and Robert Maddox became the associate conductor. The Piedmont Youth Symphony was renamed The Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra with Dr. Maddox as its conductor.

1967:
Jacques Brourman became conductor of the CSO and it was during his tenure that significant growth occurred for the Youth Orchestra. Maestro Brourman was a tireless innovator who took a great interest in training young musicians.

1972-77:
The structure of the Youth Orchestra program, a project conceived by Maestro Brourman, became a reality. The Charlotte Symphony Women's Association (now The Symphony Guild of Charlotte, Inc.) undertook the sponsorship of the Youth Orchestra by providing funds for three vital aspects: scholarships for private study; coaching by Charlotte Symphony members; and a week-long clinic-retreat prior to the beginning of the season. The Symphony Guild began its annual ASID Designer House project to support the Youth Symphony. This support continues today.

At this time the name of the orchestra was changed to the Youth Symphony of the Carolinas. From 1972-78 the YSOC expanded to include not only seasonal concerts, but also performances in Festival in the Park, Young People's Concerts in the schools, the Nutcracker series, Young Artist Concerts, two world premiere performances, and a series of television programs in 1975 and 1977 with WTVI.
The Youth Symphony sponsored concerts in Raleigh as part of the Bicentennial celebration and at Wingate College as part of the Fine Arts Series. In addition, the Youth Symphony appeared at many civic events and collaborated with the Charlotte Opera and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to present Benjamin Britten's opera, "Noyes Fludde". The six years from 1972 to 1978 truly established the Youth Symphony as a unique experience for young Charlotte musicians.

1974:
The Charlotte Symphony Women's Association received from the American Symphony Orchestra League its most prestigious "Gold Baton Award" for the imaginative and educational Youth Symphony program.

1978:
Kirk Trevor, the new assistant conductor of the CSO, became the conductor of the Youth Symphony.

1982-83:
David Mills, Principal Tuba with the Charlotte Symphony and the conductor of the Charlotte Wind Ensemble, became the interim conductor of the Youth Symphony.

1983-86:
Dr. Jordan Tang became the new assistant conductor of the CSO and of the Youth Symphony.

1985:
The Symphony Guild created the position of Manager for the Youth Symphony of the Carolinas and hired Valerie Simosko-Lampo, Principal Flute for the CSO.

1986:
The name of the orchestra was changed to the Charlotte Youth Symphony and its own full-time conductor was hired and added to the CSO conducting staff. Edward Allison, Director of String Education for the Shelby City Schools, became that first conductor.

1988:
A second orchestra, the Charlotte Junior Youth Symphony, for students of the ages 10-14, was created. This orchestra was to be a training orchestra for the YSOC and membership was by audition. Ernest Pereira, a violinist with the CSO, became the first conductor, and Sarah Briggs, also a violinist with the CSO, became the first manager.

1989-90:
Dr. Pereira became the conductor for both of the youth orchestras.

1991:
The Charlotte Youth Symphony opened the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

1993:
Alisa Smallwood succeeds Valerie Lampo as manager of the youth orchestras. The Youth Orchestras Committee was formed as the governance committee of the Youth Orchestras. This committee to be composed of members of the CSO staff, The Symphony Guild, CSO musicians, parents of both youth orchestras and youth orchestra members.

1994:
The orchestras were again renamed and became The Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra and The Charlotte Symphony Junior Youth Orchestra. The Symphony Guild won another ASOL award for its unique Youth Symphony Summer Camp program. Mary Ashley Barret was appointed Manager.

1997:
Purchased four new timpani.

1998-99:
Christine Rydel appointed manager. This same year, the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC.

1999:
The Symphony Guild of Charlotte and the Parents organization purchased a bass clarinet. Twenty CSYO members were featured in the CBS movie "Shake, Rattle and Roll". Miriam Kramer was a guest conductor at the Fall Concert. Her "Senior Wish" was granted through the Great Aunt Stella Center and the CSYO.

2000-01:
The Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras Parents Association (CSYOPA) was formed and bylaws adopted. The CSYOPA purchased a LoreƩ English horn. The CSYO performed at Summer Pops at SouthPark. The Symphony Guild of Charlotte endowed the Conductors Chair.

2001-2002:
The Parents Association sponsored the CSYO website, purchased percussion equipment and funded the CSYO's trip to Carnegie Hall. The CSYO performed at Carnegie Hall on June 17th. Their performance was part of MidAmerica Productions Ensemble Spotlight Series.

2002-2003:
The CSYOPA purchased a bass trombone.

2013:
CSYO tour to Washington, D.C. Performs at the Atlas Performing Arts Center Lang Theater.

2014--2015:
CSYOPA purchases an A clarinet and percussion instruments and equipment.

2017
The CSYO is invited by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) to perform in Carnegie Hall. on June 17, 2017. 

Celebrating 56 years of musical excellence this season!