Since The Cleveland Orchestra’s founding in 1918, it has proudly upheld a commitment to music education. The Orchestra offers not only opportunities for students to hear concerts tailored to their individual ages, but also to participate in making music through several instrumental and vocal youth ensembles.
While a resident conductor of the Orchestra, Jahja Ling founded the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra in 1986 to provide talented young musicians with a pre-professional orchestra training experience of the highest artistic standard. Since that time, more than a thousand young musicians have benefited from the unique musical experiences that COYO offers – weekly coachings with members of The Cleveland Orchestra, rehearsals and performances in historic Severance Hall, and opportunities to work with internationally renowned guest artists and conductors, including Pierre Boulez, Yo-Yo Ma, Kurt Masur, Gil Shaham, and Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Möst. The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra presents a three-concert subscription series in Severance Hall each season, and has also performed on several local, national, and international stages.
The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus was founded in 1991 to help raise awareness of choral music-making in the schools of Northeast Ohio and to encourage more students to continue their choral activities through college and into adulthood. More than 120 students in grades 9 through 12, representing more than 40 schools and communities in Northeast Ohio, belong to the Youth Chorus. Like their colleagues in the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, members of the Youth Chorus are chosen through auditions.
The Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus was formed in 1967 to provide a high-quality choral group for the many orchestral works written for children’s voices, and to offer choral training to schoolchildren in the Cleveland area. Today, the 50-plus members of the Children’s Chorus perform annually with The Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus at Severance Hall and occasionally in the summer at Blossom Music Center.
The Youth Orchestra is supported by generous grants from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and many other donors. Endowment support is provided by The George Gund Foundation and Christine Gitlin Miles.
The Youth Chorus is supported by the Edward and Ruth Wilkof Foundation.