Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras

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Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras
Also known as MCYO
Origin Bethesda, Maryland
Genres Classical
Years active 1946 (1946)-present
Labels Ster-Art, JNL Recordings
Associated acts Strathmore Music Center
Members Executive Director
Cheryl Jukes
Artistic Director
Position Currently Vacant
Music Director
Position Currently Vacant
Past members Founder
Chester Petranek
Artistic Director Emerita
Olivia W. Gutoff
Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras logo

The Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras (MCYO), is a youth orchestra program in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.[1] Along with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the National Philharmonic, MCYO is affiliated with the Strathmore music center. MCYO's programs include a harp ensemble, several chamber ensembles, three string orchestras and three full orchestras.[2] In total, MCYO consists of over 450 young musicians in grades 3 though 12.[3]

MCYO was the impetus for starting the Gifted and Talented program run by the Maryland State Department of Education.


MCYO has been at the forefront of music education in Maryland for all of its long and eventful history. Founded in 1946, MCYO has continued a vibrant orchestral program for talented youth. The mission of the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras is to nurture and develop and advance talented young musicians and enrich the community with a quality orchestral experience. The MCYO program creates a seamless connection between the artistic and the educational experience. MCYO now enjoys its first permanent home in the grand Music Center at Strathmore.

Over the years, MCYO has added several ensembles to expand its outreach to talented youth. With the help and support of public school music teachers, private school music teachers, and private studio music teachers, the caliber and number of musicians has increased dramatically. Currently there are over 400 young musicians involved in MCYO selected from over 1200 aspiring musicians.

Many honors have been bestowed upon MCYO. In 1964 in Philadelphia, the Philharmonic performed at the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) Bicentennial Conference. Its summer music camp at Deep Creek Lake in 1965 formed the basis of the Maryland Center for the Arts with instruction broadened to include dance, drama, and visual arts. The Maryland Center for the Arts is now operated by the State of Maryland at Goucher College in Towson and Salisbury State in Salisbury, Maryland. In 1969 the Philharmonic was the first American orchestra to perform at the International Festival of Youth in Switzerland. In 1971 MCYO traveled to Europe, performing in Salzburg, Dubrovnik and Zagreb. In 1977 MCYO performed at the first American Festival of Youth Orchestras. In 1981, the Philharmonic was the first youth orchestra to be showcased at the Kennedy Center.[4] Hundreds of thousands of listeners heard the Philharmonic on the WMAL Christmas Eve day concert, “Live from the Kennedy Center,” live and on the radio. This was a longstanding tradition through 2003. In 1987 the Symphony was selected to perform at the MENC Eastern Division Conference in Baltimore. In 1995 the Philharmonic and Symphony toured England and Wales as MCYO began its 50th season. The 50th Anniversary Concert premiered Andreas Makris’ "Antithesis." Later that year, the Philharmonic was invited to and performed at the prestigious Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. Two years later, the Philharmonic again performed at the MENC Eastern Division Conference in Baltimore at which it gave the World Premiere of "Echoes of a Forgotten Dream", a composition commissioned by Joseph J. McIntrye. In 1999 the Philharmonic traveled to Austria, touring four cities as part of the Johann Strauss Centennial Celebration. In 2000 the Philharmonic was one of twenty music ensembles from across the USA selected from over two hundred applicants to perform at the MENC National Conference in Washington, DC, at which it gave the World Premiere of "Echoes of a Forgotten Dream", a composition commissioned by Joseph J. McIntrye. In June 2002 the Philharmonic made its Carnegie Hall debut in New York City. Also, in 2002, MCYO changed its name from Montgomery County Youth Orchestras to Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras, keeping the acronym MCYO. In 2005 MCYO became a resident partner at The Music Center at Strathmore. Travel abroad returned in June 2009 when the Philharmonic performed in Austria and the Czech Republic. In December 2010 they performed for the 25gh Silver Anniversary of the London New Year's Celebration and Parade in Great Britain. In May 2011 the Chamber Strings and Chamber Orchestra made their debut at Carnegie Hall.

Philharmonic members annually perform with the National Symphony on the NSO Youth Orchestra Day. Select MCYO musicians participate in the NSO Fellowship program, and participate in master classes with renowned soloists and teachers. From 1993 various MCYO musicians have performed with the National Symphony Summer Music Institute. Since 1997, select MCYO musicians have augmented the National Festival Orchestra in New York City, performing with college, conservatory and select high school musicians from across the US and Canada in Carnegie Hall. In the fall of 2006, MCYO and the Baltimore Symphony began a collaboration whereby BSO musicians present Master Class experiences and coaching services to MCYO musicians.

Over the years, many MCYO alumni have continued their music education in such leading institutions as The Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, the New England Conservatory, Peabody Institute, Indiana University, Northwestern University, and the Hartt School of Music. MCYO has been represented by its members in many of the leading professional orchestras in America and Europe, and some have become music teachers. MCYO has made its mark on the music world and will continue to do so.


  • The Preparatory Strings, a string orchestra for musicians in grades 3 through 5. Founded in 2010.[5]
  • The Chamber Strings, a string orchestra for musicians in grades 4 through 6. Founded in 1995 as the String Ensemble.
  • The Young Artists, a full orchestra for musicians in grades 6 through 8. Founded in 1972 as the Prep Symphony.
  • The Symphony, a full orchestra for musicians in grades 8 through 10. Founded in 1964 as the Junior Symphony.
  • The Chamber Ensemble, a small string ensemble for musicians in grades 9 through 11. Founded in 2004 as the Sinfonia, and was the Chamber Orchestra until 2013.
  • The Philharmonic, a full orchestra for musicians in grades 10 through 12. Founded in 1946 as the Senior Symphony.

Small Ensembles[edit]

  • Senior Flute Choir
  • Junior Flute Choir
  • Clarinet Choir
  • Harp Ensemble


  1. ^ "History - Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra". Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  2. ^ Lenhart, Jennifer; Michael Toscano. "The Arts, From Classroom to Concert Hall", The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., February 3, 2005. Retrieved on 2010-06-15.
  3. ^ "About". Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  4. ^ Dongu, Robert. "Next up for state's youth orchestra: Vienna and Prague", The Gazette, Maryland, June 24, 2009. Retrieved on 2010-06-14.
  5. ^ "MCYO Preparatory Strings". Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 

External links[edit]