As the resident youth orchestra at the Music Center at Strathmore, MCYO’s mission is to “nurture and develop young talented musicians and enrich the community with a quality orchestral experience.” Each season, over 450 talented musicians in grades 3-12 participate in one of six orchestras and several small ensembles (including Flute and Clarinet Choirs, Harp Ensemble, quartets and quintets).
Attracting members from the entire Washington metropolitan region (DC, Northern Virginia, several MD counties, including Montgomery, Howard, Frederick, Baltimore, PG and more), MCYO provides an exceptional orchestral training program for aspiring young musicians: students whose intellectual and musical development profit enormously from exposure to great orchestral literature and the discipline and artistry required to perform at a high level.
Now in its 69th year, MCYO continues to enjoy a national reputation as an outstanding music program. MCYO conductors and coaches are all professional musicians and highly regarded music educators. To maintain the highest possible quality, students must audition annually in August to win a seat in an ensemble for the season. After selection and placement, members participate in weekly rehearsals and regularly-scheduled concerts in the world-class concert hall of the Music Center at Strathmore. MCYO also performs at other top national venues, such as the Kennedy Center, the White House and Carnegie Hall, and has participated in international tours and European festivals.
Community Outreach is an important aspect of the program, enabling MCYO musicians and staff to share their talent and provide enriching experiences for other groups in the community. Some of the smaller orchestras and ensembles venture out, presenting concerts at embassies, senior centers, churches, schools, museums and for specially-requested community events and galas. The Children’s Inn at NIH, Asbury Methodist Village, the National Lutheran Home, Fox Hills Senior Living, a Kennedy Center NASA concert to promote STEM education, and concerts at the National Gallery of Art are but a few of the outreaches MCYO has engaged in recently.
Residency at Strathmore facilitates unique collaborations with our partners. MCYO offers master classes (open to the public) conducted by members of the BSO and National Philharmonic. Side by Side performances with professional orchestras and world renowned conductors take place and Concerto Competitions showcase MCYO musicians as soloists. MCYO also enjoys opportunities to perform with CityDance, the Strathmore Children’s Chorus, InterPlay Band Company, and co-sponsors educational programs with the Levine School of Music and Strathmore artists.
In order to attract the best and the brightest talent for the orchestras, MCYO provides need-based financial assistance and scholarships for tuition and lessons. In addition, MCYO awards select graduating seniors scholarship money to help with their continued pursuit of music in college.