With almost 65 years of history, 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, 300 young musicians between the ages of five and 21 come from across the greater Houston area to perform in one of Houston Youth Symphony’s four orchestras. In addition to the core orchestra program, HYS offers a chamber music training and performance program and the HYS Melody Program, which provides free private music lessons for talented youth in select economically disadvantaged communities.
Houston Youth Symphony is the recipient of national acclaim, including five straight years as the national first prize winner of the Mark of Excellence Award from The Foundation for Music Education (2008 – 2012) and the American Prize in Orchestral Performance – Youth Orchestra Division (2010 and 2011). Dr. Michael Webster, Artistic Director and conductor of the Symphony, has also been recognized with the 2011 and 2012 American Prize in Conducting.