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The Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestras make possible a unique performance opportunity for talented young Western New York musicians.  The GBYO and GBYSO offer these musicians a chance to experience the discipline and rewards of preparing and performing advanced repertoires; the Foundation exists to facilitate this experience for young people.

The Youth Orchestra Foundation of Buffalo, Inc., expects each student musician's continued participation in other music programs,e specially school orchestras and ensembles, as these programs are a vital component to the success and quality of the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestras and they cultural life of the community.



The Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra traces its history to 1958, when the Western New York Youth Orchestra was formed by Dr. Robert Mols of the University of Buffalo Music Department.  This orchestra was the outgrowth of four orchestral workshops which had been held annually since 1954 under the joint sponsorship of the University's music department and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 1973 the orchestra came under the sponsorship of the Youth Orchestra Foundation of Buffalo, Inc., at the same time changing its name to the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra.

In 1983 a second orchestra was formed, the present-day Greater Buffalo Youth String Orchestra.  This string ensemble provides an orchestral opportunity for less-experienced string players.  A measure of its success as a training orchestra is the fact many of the string orchestra members go on to win places in the GBYO.  Players in both ensembles are accepted on the basis of competitive auditions in the spring.

Since 1977 the Youth Orchestra Foundation has sponsored an annual Concerto Competition in the fall for seniors within the ranks of the GBYO.  The winners become soloists with the orchestra later in the same season.  The concerto competition was expanded 10 years later in 1987, to include the biennial GBYO Piano Concerto Competition, co-sponsored by the Forum for Piano Teachers.

Every year the Youth Orchestra launches its concert year with a fall weekend camp for its members at a site outside Buffalo.  Coming together for two days of intensive rehearsing, as well as socializing, gives orchestra players a running start on the season.

The GBYO has successfully completed international tours in Italy, Spain, Austria and Prague, and regional tours to Rochester, Philadelphia, Toronto, Baltimore and Boston.

The Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra is a member of the Youth Orchestra Division of the League of American Orchestras.