What’s in a name? In our case, a lot!

Celebrating our 80th Anniversary as one of the preeminent youth music programs in the country, The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, founded in 1940, is changing its name to PYO Music Institute. Over these 80 years, we’ve grown to serve nearly 600 students annually, ages six to 21, across five orchestral ensembles, the transformational Tune Up Philly program, and multiple other performance and competition programs.

PYO Music Institute better conveys the breadth of our programs and the impact we are having on more students in more ways than ever, This new name aligns our programs under one inclusive organization and brand.   We have adopted the exciting new logo above, along with a new website at www.pyomusic.org, and updated social media presence at @pyomusic on Youtube, Twitter, Instagram and Flickr.  Please take a minute to visit our updated sites, share them with your friends and colleagues, and, as always, provide us feedback on what you see.

As the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, we were a single ensemble program for our first 55 years.  A companion ensemble, The Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra, was added 25 years ago.  Since then, we have continued to grow – exponentially – and now provide musical learning pathways across five orchestral ensembles.  In addition, The Tune Up Philly program was added 10 years ago to provide greater access to students in under-served communities.  Along the way, we also added a number of other supporting enrichment, performance and educational programs to promote the development of young leaders with strong character through the study and performance of music.

Our 80th anniversary milestone presents an ideal occasion to implement changes that clarify our offerings and signal our growing innovation as we begin our 81st year transforming Philadelphia’s youth through our broad continuum of music training, education and performance opportunities. PYO Music Institute achieves these goals, providing room for our continuing innovative evolution

Our mission hasn’t wavered: to use extraordinary music education through the pursuit of music excellence to inspire a strong sense of character, discipline, commitment, and community for our diverse student population.  PYO Music Institute offers six program divisions to our nearly 600 students, with minor name updates for three of our ensembles that clarify the distinct objectives and offerings of each:

  • Philadelphia Youth Orchestra — Our renowned senior ensemble featuring 130 gifted instrumentalists ranging in age from 15 to 21 retains this internationally recognized name. 
  • Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra — Our companion ensemble for young musicians aged 13 to 18 also retains its well-known name.
  • Young Musicians Debut Orchestra — A new name for the former Philadelphia Young Musicians Orchestra, our introductory full symphonic orchestra for ages 11 to 17, which provides students with their first introduction to large orchestral playing. 
  • Bravo Brass — Our all-brass ensemble for promising middle and high-school instrumentalists remains the same.
  • Prysm Strings — A new name for PRYSM, our large string ensemble and sectional master class instruction for beginning and intermediate musicians ages 6 to 14.
  • Tune Up Philly – Orchestral Pathways Program — Our free after-school music program in Philadelphia focused on creating and inspiring true community change. Nearly 200 children in under-resourced communities receive instruments and invaluable learning and performance opportunities.

Our wide array of other enrichment programs and competitive performance opportunities include the College and Conservatory Audition Preparation Program, Master Classes with members of our distinguished faculty, PYAO Concerto Competition, Young Composers Competition, and the annual Ovation Award, recognizing the region’s most dedicated and effective music teachers.  We also support a highly engaged Alumni Network for past students.

We hope you share our enthusiasm for our exciting new name and appearance.  As always, we are deeply thankful for your ongoing support, especially as we look to the future of PYO Music Institute.

With all best regards,


Louis Scaglione

President & Music Director

PYO Music Institute