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About OCYS

“Orange County’s Official Youth Orchestra” 

For 50 years, under the batons of founding Music Director Emeritus John Koshak and Daniel Alfred Wachs, the Orange County Youth Symphony (OCYS) traveled the world representing Orange County’s best young adult musicians in performances in Austria, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and at the United Nations along with Carnegie Hall. Our many prestigious performances have included U.S. and West Coast premieres by composers such as Mark-Anthony Turnage and Kurt Schwetsik and a season-long project with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, culminating in a documentary entitled Beethoven’s Ninth: Journey to Joy that PBS SoCal selected for multiple broadcasts. 

Our diverse roster represents student musicians from nearly 60 middle school, high school, and college programs from Orange County and surrounding areas. The Orange County Youth Symphony community of young musicians and their families is particularly committed to advancing and sharing the intercultural love of orchestral music. The members serve as music ambassadors to each other and our local schools, districts, and cities. 

In 2017, OCYS officially integrated with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. This extraordinary relationship provides our musicians with exciting opportunities to engage with some of classical music’s most celebrated artists and ensembles, such as violinists Ray Chen, Midori, the Kronos Quartet, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. 

OCYS performs for the Philharmonic Society’s acclaimed Concerts for Fifth Grade programs at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, providing music education for more than a million students over 25 years. 

OCYS is a full symphony orchestra for string, woodwind, brass, and percussion open to musicians by audition in grades 6th through 12th. OCYS rehearses once a week beginning in the middle of August through May at Chapman University on Sunday afternoons. 


“Orange County Youth Symphony String Ensemble” 

Just in time for the celebration of its 50th season in 2019-20, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County announced both the appointment of Johannes Müller Stosch as the new Music Director and Conductor of OCYS and the premiere of the Orange County Youth String Ensemble. This ensemble is a string orchestra; violin, viola, cello, and double bass positions are open to musicians by audition in 6th through 12th grade.  

OCYSE rehearses once a week beginning in the middle of September through May at Chapman University on Sunday afternoons 

What We Do

Over a ten-month season (mid-August to mid-May), our members participate in performances, masterclasses/workshops, weekly rehearsals, a concerto competition, Concerts for Fifth Grade, an annual retreat, tour travel opportunities, and become music ambassadors for Southern California. 


OCYS rehearsals are held on Sundays from mid-August to mid-May at Chapman University. OCYS rehearses from 1:00pm-3:30pm.

OCYSE rehearsals are held on Sundays from mid-September to mid-May at Chapman University. OCYSE rehearses from 4:00pm-5:30pm. 

(Winter and Spring Breaks, along with Holidays, will be posted on the Season Calendar)