Founded in 1956 as a 55- member youth orchestra, the Sacramento Youth Symphony (SYS), under the artistic direction of Michael Neumann, now has a membership of more than 400 talented young musicians from all over the Sacramento Valley region. SYS offers beginning through advanced orchestral ensembles and presents more than 20 concerts per year under the baton of some of the best music educators and conductors in the region.
As Sacramento’s foremost orchestral youth organization, we aspire to become the region’s most influential community for the advancement of talent and music appreciation among youth. We achieve this by offering several levels of string, wind, and orchestral ensembles, allowing us to accommodate intermediate and advanced players as well as less seasoned youth musicians with at least one year of experience. As Sacramento Youth Symphony members, students learn from our talented music educators and conductors, gain exposure to music history and theory, and perform challenging orchestral works in several exciting concerts every year. They may also have the opportunity to tour locally or internationally, depending on their ensemble.
Our music programs are designed to bridge music and academic subjects, and teach orchestra ethics and appropriate social behavior. In doing so, students gain self-esteem, self-expression, discipline, and a sense of teamwork. Participating in the Sacramento Youth Symphony also provides students with the equivalent of a full-body workout for their brains!! As demonstrated in research by neuroscientists, playing music simultaneously engages every area of the brain, contributing to higher levels of problem-solving, executive function/planning/strategizing, and memory.
Across a broad demographic spectrum of youth, we seek to cultivate musical talent, promote love for music, advance a sense of unity, and increase capacity for a lifetime of success. Membership in the Sacramento Youth Symphony is a powerful and enriching experience. It helps develop well-rounded students with impressive school resumes, and contributes to rewards in college and beyond. Many alumni continue making music on some level while successfully pursuing non-musical careers; others dedicate their lives to music, going on to play for such renowned professional orchestras as the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. Perhaps most importantly, during their time as Sacramento Youth Symphony members, they enjoy camaraderie with like-minded students, build lifelong friendships, and accumulate memories to last a lifetime.