Celebrating 70 years of history in 2016, Houston Youth Symphony, the Houston Youth Symphony is one of the largest and oldest continuously operating youth orchestras in the United States. Founded in 1946 through a collaboration between the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the Houston Independent School District, its first concert was performed on December 28, 1946. Today, nearly 400 young musicians between the ages of seven and 19 come from across the greater Houston area to perform in on of Houston Youth Symphony’s five orchestras. In addition to the core orchestra program, HYS offers a chamber music training and performance program and two community outreach programs that provide music education opportunities for talented youth in select economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Houston Youth Symphony is the recipient of national acclaim, including seven-time winner of the national first prize winner of the Mark of Excellence Award from The Foundation for Music Education (2008-2012, 2014, 2015) and the American Prize in Orchestral Performance - Youth Orchestra Division (2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015; runner-up 2012, 2013). Dr. Michael Webster, Artistic Director and conductor of the Symphony, has also been recognized with the 2011 and 2012 American Prize in Conducting.