Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra

Central Ohio’s aspiring young instrumentalists in grades 9-12 performed in this ensemble directed by Peter Stafford Wilson, Associate Conductor of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. The 104-member orchestra had students from 19 high schools in 9 counties. Members were selected through a competitive audition process annually in April/May.

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About the Youth Orchestra

Sponsored by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the organization emphasizes the performance of standard orchestral literature with special emphasis on American music under the leadership of a professional conductor with regular advice from coaches from the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Weekly rehearsals during the school year are carried out under professional standards, and the members are expected to take private lessons and maintain leadership responsibilities in their school ensembles.

The orchestra performs an extensive series of concerts including three subscription programs at its home, The Capitol Theatre at the Vern Riffe Center in downtown Columbus. In 1998, the orchestra was one of six chosen worldwide to appear at the 1998 Banff International Youth Orchestra Festival in Banff, Alberta, Canada. During the summer of 1999, it made its first European tour, performing highly acclaimed concerts in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Returning to Dresden Germany in 2000, the orchestra developed an exchange relationship with the Heinrich Schultz Konservatorium, a community music school that boasts 8000 students. In June of 2005, the orchestra embarked on an extensive 15-day tour of the Peoples Republic of China and Hong Kong performing in 5 different cities, including a concert atop the Great Wall of China. In June 2015, Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson conducted the Youth Orchestra in their premier performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The orchestra will return to Carnegie Hall in June 2018.

The Youth Orchestra has appeared at regional conferences of the Ohio Music Educators Association, and the national conferences of the Music Educators National Conference and the American Symphony Orchestra League. In 1998, the Orchestra released its first CD recording featuring Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, and its concerts are regularly re-broadcast on WOSU-FM. Artists appearing with the Orchestra in recent seasons have included Dave Brubeck, Andrew Carlson, Gregory Fulkerson, Christopher Durrenberger, David Thomas, Andreas Henkel, Marilyn Nims, Stephen Secan, Charles Wetherbee, Eugenia Zuckerman, Caroline Hong and Linda Nolan.

Youth Orchestra Alumni 

Peter Stafford Wilson, conductor

Maestro Wilson celebrates his 28th season with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, having been appointed assistant conductor in 1990, and promoted to associate conductor in 1995. He has led the Orchestra in subscription concerts, Festivals at the Southern Theatre, POPS events and many education, outreach and tour activities. Wilson has led the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra to exciting new heights, including their 2015 premier concert at Carnegie Hall, the China tour of June 2005 and European tours in 1998 and 1999. In addition to the CSYO, Wilson also leads the Columbus All City Orchestra and the Youth Orchestra Summer Pops. The Youth Orchestra has also appeared at national conferences of service organizations for symphonic and music education industries and participated in the Banff International Orchestra Festival. Wilson’s work with young musicians has taken him around the globe including a summer music camp held by the local government in Hong Kong. In 2010, the CSO honored Wilson with its Honorary Music Educator of the Year Award for his 20 years of service to the CSO’s education activities.

In addition to his duties with the Columbus Symphony, Wilson leads the Westerville Symphony a community organization based at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio and serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Springfield Symphony. He is also the Principal Conductor of the Tulsa Ballet in Oklahoma. Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, Maestro Wilson studied with Thomas Shippers at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He became a leading proponent of contemporary music and collaborated with Composer-in-Residence Lukas Foss on several performances at CCM. Wilson also studied at the Aspen Music School, the Academia Santa Cellia in Rome, the Goldovsky Opera Institute and the Eastern Music Festival. He has appeared with orchestras in Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Charlotte and Phoenix. He has also led concerts with the Chautauqua Symphony, the Kansas City Philharmonic and in 1993 led the Independence Day Concert with Peter Nero’s Philly Pops Orchestra in Philadelphia.