Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra

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Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) is a youth orchestra in Milwaukee. MYSO has been offering training in ensemble musicianship to young people in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois since 1956.

Senior Symphony[edit]

This 120-member symphony orchestra presents concerts, each season including a concerto performance by a soloist and a choral work.

The musicians in the Senior Symphony have undertaken several domestic and international tours. Most students in this group are in grades 10-12. The most recent international tour was completed in summer 2017 when the Senior Symphony went to Argentina. in 2009, the Symphony went to Canada. Previously, their "Beijing and Beyond" tour through China. Before that, their last international tour was in July 1997, when MYSO performed in Spain and Italy. In June 2000, the Senior Symphony had a trip to the National Youth Orchestra Festival in Sarasota, Florida as one of five invited youth orchestras. In spring 1999, the orchestra performed in Montreal,Quebec, Canada.

In 1994, the 114-member Senior Symphony performed in New York's Carnegie Hall. In 1991, MYSO represented the United States at the Aberdeen (Scotland) International Youth Festival of the Performing Arts, with additional performances in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

In 1987, they traveled to Switzerland, France, and Austria.

Margery Deutsch has been the conductor and music director of MYSO’s Senior Symphony since 1987 and Shelby Dixon has been a MYSO conductor since 1984.

In 2015, they traveled to Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary.


MYSO’s second symphony orchestra, numbering 140 members, plays a variety of original works. Most students in this group are in grades 9-12.

Beginning his 43rd season with MYSO, Ron Melby serves as a Music Director of Philharmonia. Melby taught in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District for 32 years and retired as orchestra director at Nathan Hale High School in 1995. He served on the staff of the Wisconsin High School Honors Orchestra for two years and directed at the first National Youth Orchestra Festival in Washington, D.C. in 1977.

Melby received his BMusEd degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and has graduate credits in String Development and Music Education from that institution. His education also includes summer institute study with Shinichi Suzuki, George Bornhoff and Paul Roland. In 1993, Melby received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the American String Teachers Association/Wisconsin String Teachers Association. In 2002 Melby was honored by the Civic Music Association with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Carter Simmons serves the MYSO organization as Director of Artistic Education and Resident Conductor. He conducts the Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia and the Junior Symphony Orchestra, and regards his interaction with these young musicians to be an honor and privilege. Since joining the staff in 1992, he has conducted several regional orchestras and served as a clinician in both Wisconsin and Illinois. He has worked with the MSO and has spoken on the subject of programming for the American Symphony Orchestra League.

Simmons was President of the Board of Directors of Milwaukee's Civic Music Association and, with many others, helped design and oversee the creation of the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. As part of his education, he participated in conducting seminars of both the Conductor's Guild and the American Symphony Orchestra League and was a finalist for the National Conducting Institute of the National Symphony Orchestra.

He received his B.M. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Horn Performance, and his M.M. in Conducting from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where he was a graduate assistant in the school's band department and a conductor of the UWMYWE program. Carter, is a native of Virginia and North Carolina and received his earliest musical training from members of the Washington, D.C. military bands.


MYSO's 120-member third symphony orchestra studies a variety of repertoire. In the spring, this ensemble is augmented by selected wind and percussion players from MYSO’s Junior Wind Ensemble. Most students in this group are in grades 6-9.

In the spring, the top wind, brass, and percussion players from Junior Wind Ensemble are invited to join the string players of the Sinfonia to make a full orchestra called the Junior Symphony Orchestra. This ensemble performs on the same MYSO Spring Concert as the Junior Wind Ensemble.

Steven Rindt received the WFMR Allegro Award in 2005.

Chamber Orchestra[edit]

MYSO's Chamber Orchestra consists of select members of the Senior Symphony. There are only a few strings on each part, and in the band it is only one or two on each part, because the music they play does not require a large orchestra. This group is conducted by Carter Simmons.

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