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The Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra (OCYSO), now in its 46th season, is the official youth orchestra of Orange County, CA. Deemed “the real thing” by The Los Angeles Times, OCYSO is the winner of the 2012 American Prize in Orchestral Performance—Youth Orchestra Division. Music Director & Conductor Daniel Alfred Wachs has led OCYSO through many prestigious performances including US and West Coast premieres by composers such as Mark-Anthony Turnage and Kurt Schwertsik, European tours and a season-long project with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 culminating in a documentary entitled “Beethoven’s Ninth: Journey to Joy” that was selected by PBS SoCal for multiple broadcasts. OCYSO’s mission, to introduce music into the lives of young people, is fulfilled in part through its acclaimed “Concerts for Fifth Graders,” in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, conducted and developed by Wachs. This series, “kids playing for kids,” presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, has provided music education for more than a million students over twenty-five years. Additionally, OCYSO presents a concert series in the historic Memorial Hall Auditorium at Chapman University, and will soon move into the new $85 million Musco Center for the Arts opening in spring 2016.

Highlights of the 2015-16 Season include a first-ever family concert at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and a season-long collaboration with the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra (YMF Debut) of Los Angeles. This collaborative concert with YMF, presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic on its prestigious Sounds About Town series at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, will feature the United States premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s Passachendaele, an OCYSO co-commission with the City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Concertgebouw Brugge. In addition, musicians from both OCYSO and YMF-Debut will perform on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (LACMA) Sundays Live Series.

OCYSO’s 2013-2014 season was presented in conjunction with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County’s Beethoven: The Late Great series and culminated in a sold-out season finale concert presenting the West Coast premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s “Frieze” and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The Orange County Register selected this concert as one of the “Must See” performances of the season and The Los Angeles Times picked it as a top concert choice for Spring 2014. The Orange County Register exclaimed “The performance wasn’t just good by standards for younger performers, but forceful and exuberant by any standard: genuinely inspiring, technically proficient, structurally sound.”

During its distinguished history, OCYSO has performed at major music conferences throughout the United States and was featured at the 2013 TEDx held at Chapman University. OCYSO presented a capstone performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of the inaugural West Coast Youth Orchestra Festival. In the summer of 2013, OCYSO toured the United Kingdom and attended the famed Proms Concerts as guests of the Royal Philharmonic Society. A review of OCYSO’s performance at Bristol Cathedral stated that “The young players gave an excellent performance and earned the tremendous ovation they received…Charismatic director Daniel Alfred Wachs was excellent throughout.” OCYSO’s performances have been lauded by both critics and audiences throughout Austria, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China, Japan and at the United Nations and Carnegie Hall. OCYSO’s next international tour to Spain is scheduled for summer 2016.

In celebration of its 40th anniversary in 2009-10, OCYSO performed a joint concert with the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, presenting the United States premiere of Kurt Schwertsik’s Mr. K Discovers America. In his review for The Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed wrote “The performance was smashing thanks in no small part to the exceptionally well-practiced pre-professionals, who brought a sparkle to the Salzburgers’ sound that wasn’t there before…They are the real thing.”