Youth Orchestra

The mission of the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra is to educate students through high-level orchestral training in a professional environment while developing new audiences for symphonic music.

Sponsored by the Knoxville Symphony League and the Knoxville Symphony Society, the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra is comprised of six ensembles totaling over 300 student musicians:

  • Youth Orchestra
  • Youth Chamber Orchestra
  • Sinfonia
  • Philharmonia
  • Preludium
  • Junior Orchestra

COVID-19 Response: Our number one priority this season is the health and safety of our student musicians and staff.  If it is not safe for us to hold rehearsals this season, we will not, and we reserve the right to cancel rehearsals at any time during the 2020-2021 season. The KSYO held a small summer string camp July 20 – 24 employing all recommended social distance protocol.  This included masks for all student musicians and staff at all times and small groups set up with 6 feet or more of distance from other players. We plan to proceed in the same way for the upcoming 2020-2021 season.  For all KSYO auditions and rehearsals masks are required at all times of all student musicians and staff.

To begin in the fall, auditions will be held in person, but include only one student and up to five judging staff at a time. Only strings, percussion and harps will be auditioned in August while we wait for more information from a national study about best practice and safety for wind and brass instruments (our current plan is to audition winds and brass outdoors sometime in October). Full orchestras will be seated from auditions, however students will then be divided down into smaller groups. For example: Sinfonia will have an A, B, C and D group (20 players in each). One Monday, the A Group will come for in-person rehearsals while other groups have the option to participate online and the next Monday the B group will come, etc. Rehearsals will be shortened and no breaks will be taken during rehearsal. And a new staggered schedule will be created so that only one group at a time is entering or leaving the building. Temperature checks and a COVID-19 questionnaire will be administered as students enter the building.  No parents or guardians will be allowed in the building.  More detailed COVID-19 Protocol and a new schedule will be distributed following auditions.



The ensembles of the KSYO, now in its 46th season, include an auditioned full symphonic orchestra and string ensembles comprised of some of the area’s most talented young musicians. It performs four concerts during the season and is open to all students grade 12 and younger who play an orchestral instrument (including keyboard).

Students in Sinfonia, Youth Chamber Orchestra and Youth Orchestra may also choose to participate in the new Chamber Music Program, in which they have the opportunity to play in smaller ensembles.

For more information on the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra Association, contact Kathy Hart