The Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra (OCYSO), now in its 48th 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. Wachs has also led OCYSO on numerous national and international tours. A season-long project with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 culminating in a documentary entitled “Beethoven’s Ninth: Journey to Joy” that broadcast on PBS SoCal.
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. This series, “kids playing for kids,” presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, has provided music education for more than a million students for over twenty-five years. Additionally, OCYSO presents a concert series in the new $82 million Musco Center for the Arts on the campus of Chapman University.
Highlights of the 2016-17 Season included renowned violinists Ray Chen, Midori, and a mini-residency by the Kronos Quartet. Presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, OCYSO returned for its third annual holiday family concert and it’s acclaimed Concerts for Fifth Graders at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.
The 2015-16 Season included 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, featured the United States premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s Passchendaele, an OCYSO co-commission. Of the performance which was reviewed by Musical America, the Los Angeles Times, and the Orange County Register, music critic Timothy Mangan stated: “Wachs led a wonderfully clear and patient traversal, finding order in complexity. The young musicians appeared to have little trouble with the work’s progressive language.”