ACSO Celebrates National Arts Education Week by Highlighting our Youth Orchestra, Academic, and Orchestra Education Members

Passed by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 designates the week beginning with the second Sunday in September as National Arts in Education Week - that's this week! National Arts in Education Week is supported by Americans for the Arts on behalf of the field of arts education to bring visibility to the cause, unify stakeholders with a shared message, and provide the tools and resources for local leaders to advance arts education in their communities.

To celebrate the transformative power of the arts in education, ACSO recognizes our youth orchestra, university and college orchestra, and organizational members who provide all levels of music education programming as part of their year-round offerings. Here are highlights from a few of our members, as well as a list all of our members that offer educational programs, making a real impact in the lives of young people.

Northern California

Like many orchestras, the Eureka Symphony’s Schools to Symphony program offers school children in grades 4-6 the chance to attend a live concert by the Eureka Symphony during their school day. These free performances are provided as part of the Eureka Symphony’s commitment to providing both high-quality music and music education which increases an appreciation of music in Humboldt County. The experience is designed to be an enriching one, giving young people an insight into the creation of music and inspiring students to learn to play an instrument. That inspiration is important, since research has shown that playing an instrument contributes to improved reading and math skills. Prior to the actual live performance, teachers receive a curriculum specially designed to help them prepare their students to get the most out of this special concert experience. The Eureka Symphony also works hand in hand with the Humboldt County Office of Education, which manages the logistics of getting nearly 1,500 students to the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts. Click here to learn more.

Central California

The Youth Orchestras of Fresno have been a Central Valley institution since 1950, when there was a single ensemble known as the Kiwanis Youth Orchestra. Today their three orchestras accommodate young musicians of all levels, kindergarten through college. The orchestras currently serve 260 young players from seven Central Valley counties (Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Tulare) representing a full complement of socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities. They have an additional 50 students in their free after-school Access Violin Program. Each summer they welcome 160 students from around the Valley and around the world to the FOOSA Festival. The Festival is a project between the Youth Orchestra of Fresno and Fresno State’s Department of Music. It’s a two-week summer intensive program on the Fresno State campus. The program centers around the FOOSA Philharmonic, a selective pre-professional level orchestra that provides graduate school, college and high school musicians the opportunity to learn from and work alongside professionals and faculty members. Click here to learn more.

Southern California

The Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship, a collaborative music education program designed to increase diversity in American orchestras, was launched in August 2018. The groundbreaking program was conceived by a partnership of Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), the country’s largest African-American-majority youth orchestra; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), one of the world’s leading chamber orchestras; and USC Thornton School of Music, one of the country’s top music programs. The recipients of the Fellowship are from underrepresented communities and will receive a 360-degree view of a career as an orchestral musician in this rigorous two-year training program. A key pillar of The Fellowship is artistic mentoring the Fellows receive from LACO musicians and USC Thornton faculty. In turn, Fellows will actively mentor, teach, and guide young ICYOLA musicians. Among the other opportunities provided are extensive performance and rehearsal experience; compensation, benefits, housing; and unprecedented support to prepare participants to win auditions in professional American orchestras. The Fellowship was developed to address the fact that less than 5% of America's orchestra workforce is African American, Hispanic or Native American, according to a 2016 report on diversity issued by the League of American Orchestras.  Click here to learn more.


The Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composers Project is a year-long course where students learn to compose for orchestra while working alongside other young composers, orchestral musicians, conductors and contemporary composers. Musicians ages 8-18 explore the creative process of composition in the classroom and out: they attend TSO dress rehearsals and concerts, meet guest artists and composers, and work with TSO musicians. As the culminating final project, in May the TSO performs their original composition in a public reading session and students receive a live recording of their newly created work! Now in its 25th year, the TSO Young Composers Project has produced more than 375 new works by young composers. Click here to learn more.

Music Education, Youth Orchestra, and College/University/School Members

Below is a list of all of our members that offer educational programs. You may also search these programs in the Member Directory found in the members-only section of the website (accessed by logging in).

Orchestras with Education Programs

Youth Orchestras

College/University/School Orchestras and Ensembles

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