The Fort Worth Youth Orchestra, founded in 1965 by a community group headed by Betty Utter and under the direction of Ezra Rachlin and John Giordano, was formed with the goal of inspiring the development of young musicians by providing intensive classical orchestral training and unparalleled performance opportunities.
During its 52-year history, the Youth Orchestra has won local, national, and international recognition as one of the finest youth orchestra programs in the United States. FWYO has continuously elevated, enhanced and been driven to perfect, change and adapt to meet the dynamic needs of our students and communities. The mission of FWYO is to encourage musical excellence in a professional and supportive environment by providing the highest quality in classical orchestra training and performance opportunities to qualified musicians and making its programs accessible to underserved communities through financial assistance and outreach.
Today, the more than 400 current students in the FWYO music education program range in age from six months to eighteen years, and represent communities from throughout North Texas. The program offers students the opportunity to further develop their talent as well as their leadership skills, self-discipline, confidence, and pride in personal achievement. Many graduates of the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra program have gone on to become members of major symphony orchestra in the United States and around the world. With over 2,500 alumni, the organization's impact can be felt throughout the region in both musical and non-musical fields.
Excellence in music making at FWYO is, uniquely, both a goal and a means. We provide a rich and broad range of programs from Early Childhood Music to our premier orchestra, the Youth Orchestra. Our unique and extensive programming is rooted in quality, and delivered in a nurturing environment. Programs and opportunities like our Chamber Music program exemplify the rare opportunity for young musicians to truly understand an area of repertoire that will enhance their artistic understanding on a larger scale. Our young musicians perform repertoire that is above the level of most youth orchestras in our country, both in difficulty, maturity and scope.
The Orchestra's accomplishments include concert tours in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and the Far East; music festivals in Switzerland and Washington, D.C.; and numerous other concert appearances across Texas and the Southwest. The Youth Orchestra has also been honored to perform with artists such as Van Cliburn, Jose Feghali, Yakov Kasman, Tamàs Ungàr, and John Owings, and composers Morton Gould and Samuel Adler.
Under the leadership of Music Director German Gutierrez, FWYO has become one of North Texas’ most prestigious performing arts organizations.