Youth Orchestra


Central Ohio’s aspiring young instrumentalists in grades 9-12 perform in this ensemble directed by Associate Conductor of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Andrés Lopera. The 91-member orchestra has students from 19 high schools in nine counties. Members are selected through a competitive audition process held annually in April/May.

Youth Orchestra typically performs 3-4 times a season and focuses on developing all the elements of professional musicianship by performing full symphonic works. Previous repertoire has included Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar, Festive Overture by Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. 

The ensemble rehearses on Wednesday evenings from 7:00pm-9:30pm. The annual tuition cost for Youth Orchestra is $555.00. Financial Aid and payment plans are available for each of our ensembles upon request.


Visit the CSYO Auditions webpage to learn about auditions! 




Sponsored by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the organization emphasizes the performance of standard orchestral literature with a special emphasis on American music under the leadership of a professional conductor with regular advice from coaches from the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Weekly rehearsals during the school year are carried out under professional standards, and the members are expected to take private lessons and maintain leadership responsibilities in their school ensembles.

The orchestra will perform three concerts at its home, The Speaker Jo Ann Davidson Theatre at the Vern Riffe Center in downtown Columbus. In 1998, the Youth Orchestra was one of six chosen worldwide to appear at the 1998 Banff International Youth Orchestra Festival in Banff, Alberta, Canada. During the summer of 1999, it made its first European tour, performing highly acclaimed concerts in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Returning to Dresden Germany in 2000, the Orchestra developed an exchange relationship with the Heinrich Schultz Konservatorium, a community music school that boasts 8000 students. In June of 2005, the Orchestra embarked on an extensive 15-day tour of the Peoples Republic of China and Hong Kong performing in five different cities, including a concert atop the Great Wall of China. In June 2015, the Youth Orchestra made its premier performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City and returned for a second performance in June 2018.

The Youth Orchestra has appeared at regional conferences of the Ohio Music Educators Association, and the national conferences of the Music Educators National Conference and the American Symphony Orchestra League. In 1998, the Orchestra released its first CD recording featuring Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, and its concerts are regularly re-broadcast on WOSU-FM. Artists appearing with the Orchestra in recent seasons have included George Goad, Alicia Hui, Andrew Carlson, Gregory Fulkerson, Christopher Durrenberger, David Thomas, Andreas Henkel, Marilyn Nims, Stephen Secan, Charles Wetherbee, Eugenia Zuckerman, Caroline Hong, and Linda Nolan.


Andrés Lopera, conductor

One of the current leading Latin-American conductors in the U.S., Andrés Lopera has led orchestras throughout the Americas for more than a decade. Having recently completed his third season as assistant conductor of the Colorado Symphony, Lopera has directed performances with orchestras such as the Oregon Symphony, Toledo Symphony, NewWorld Symphony, and Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra, as well at summer festivals, including the National Repertory Orchestra and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas. In 2017, he covered a series of concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel and Carlos Miguel Prieto.

At the international level, Lopera has performed with the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra and the EAFIT Symphony Orchestra in his home country of Colombia, among others. He has also presented concerts and collaborated with both professional and youth orchestras throughout Central and South America, including organizations in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Honduras. 

In 2012, Lopera was appointed music director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony in Portland where he oversaw a program with more than 450 students, 12 ensembles, and 10 conducting staff. In recognition of his contributions to Portland, he received the Portland Monthly Award, Rising Star Award, and the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber Bravo Award. Additional honors include the Orgullo Colombiano Award and Egresados Que Inspiran from EAFIT University, both received in 2017.

Lopera has studied and worked with some of the most outstanding professional artists in the field, including Hugh Wolff, Andrew Litton, David Loebel, Carlos Kalmar, Ludovic Morlot, and Marin Alsop. He earned a master’s in orchestral conducting from New England Conservatory.


Are you a Youth Orchestra Alumni? We’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at [email protected]