Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra

In the conviction that music nourishes the mind, body and spirit of the individual and enriches the community, the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra provides a rigorous and inspiring orchestral experience for young musicians.

Founded in 1976, the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra (MSYO) serves over 100 young musicians and their families from more than 40 public and private schools in the Central Valley.  Led by a deeply engaged leadership team, the youth orchestra attracts a diverse group of outstanding musicians.  Members are presented with the opportunity to share their gift of music in an inspiring and challenging orchestral setting alongside their peers from all social, economic, cultural, and geographical backgrounds. As a program within the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Association, members also have the invaluable experience of interacting with our professional musicians, conductors, and visiting guest artists through workshops, side-by-side performances, and clinics. 

The MSYO serves students of varying skill levels and is made up of two full-orchestra (strings, winds, and percussion) groups:

  • The MSYO Concert Orchestra (Grades 5-9)

  • The MSYO Symphony Orchestra (Grades 9-12)

 Both ensembles perform a three-concert series at the Gallo Center for the Arts throughout the season. In addition to the Gallo concerts, both orchestras also perform in and around the region. The MSYO Concert Orchestra has toured San Francisco, Sacramento, and the Central Valley. Each spring the Concert Orchestra tours through local elementary schools, providing free performances and advocating for the importance of music education. The MSYO Symphony Orchestra has also performed throughout the United States and world, including performances in England, France, Japan, Eastern Europe, Canada, and China. The Symphony Orchestra has previously partnered with the Napa Valley Youth Symphony to perform in the 2012 Mahler Festival in Vienna and for the 2014 New York Phil Young Composers workshop, where they performed at Carnegie Hall and in Central Park. The MSYO Symphony Orchestra will be partnering with the Napa Valley Youth Symphony again in June of 2020 to participate in the Beethoven 250 Festival in Vienna.

Chamber Ensembles

Playing chamber music is a wonderful chance for students to work on the finer point of interpretation and performance. The MSYO offers three chamber ensembles that are designed to give our top musicians opportunities to receive expert coaching from professional musicians, as well as a multitude of performance opportunities outside of the MSYO concerts. Performance opportunities include but are not limited to MSO patron & donor events, MSYO community outreach events, and prior to MSO concerts in the lobby of the Gallo Center for the Arts.

 The MSYO currently offers the following chamber groups:

  • MSYO Brass Quintet

  • MSYO Woodwind Ensemble

  • MSYO String Quartet

Tuition & Financial Assistance

MSYO tuition is $440 per season when paid in a lump sum at the beginning of the year or $480 per season if paid via a payment plan. MSYO families with more than one child participating in any given year will receive a 20% sibling discount after the first full tuition. Please note that it is the family’s responsibility to keep all active MSYO members’ tuition accounts in good standing. The MSYO reserves the right to not allow participation in concerts if a member has an outstanding tuition balance and there are no prior arrangements made with the Finance Department.

The Modesto Symphony Orchestra believes that everyone should have access to music education and we strive to make our programs available to all students, regardless of their financial background. Need-based financial assistance is available to help MSYO members cover the cost of tuition. 

Please contact Lauren Dietrich, Education Manager, at if you have any questions or concerns.

Conductors and Coaches

Ryan MurrayMusic Director, Symphony Orchestra Conductor, and Chamber Ensemble Coach
Donald C. GrishawConcert Orchestra Conductor
Ella WebbWind Specialist and Chamber Ensemble Coach
Morgan Lesan, Strings Specialist


Time: Wednesdays at 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Location: CSU Stanislaus Music Building
One University Cir, Turlock, CA 95382
To view a map of the CSU Stanislaus campus, please click here.

Upcoming MSYO Performances