The mission of the Youth Orchestras of Prince William is to promote quality music education, provide a range of performance opportunities, foster musical awareness and appreciation, and produce cultural experiences for our region.
The Youth Orchestras of Prince William began as a single orchestra, founded in 1981 by the Woodbridge Music Club. In 1984 YOPW became an independent organization and inaugurated its second ensemble, the Concert Orchestra. The Primo and Repertory Orchestras were added in 1988 to provide opportunities for younger string students. In 2001 we began the Preparatory Orchestra to meet the needs of introductory string players. In 2000-2001, YOPW was nominated for the Governor's Arts Award for Support of the Arts in Virginia.
Over its history, the Youth Orchestras of Prince William have participated in international youth orchestra festivals, performed with the Army Orchestra at Fort Myer, performed at the Kennedy Center, and had numerous guest artists and clinicians. The Youth Symphony Orchestra participated in Heritage Festivals in Toronto in 1994 and Quebec in April 1995. In 2005, YOPW members performed a challenging concert along with members of five other Washington area youth orchestras under National Symphony Orchestra Associate Conductor Emil deCou at the annual meetings of the American Symphony Orchestra League in Washington D.C.
In June 2006, YOPW's Youth Symphony Orchestra participated in the New York Orchestra Festival, which culminated with a performance at Carnegie Hall. YSO received three standing ovations, and Festival judges presented them with the Festival's Gold Award for their performance. In April 2007, the Youth Symphony Orchestra also gave a showcase performance at the Washington, D.C. International Band & Orchestra Festival at the Kennedy Center. YSO returned to New York City in March, 2013 to perform at the Madison Avenue Atrium and the National Band and Orchestra Festival hosted by WorldStrides Heritage Performance at Carnegie Hall.
The Youth Orchestras of Prince William have supported active composers by programming new works regularly. In 2013, the Youth Symphony Orchestra commissioned a new work by American composer, Eric Nathan called Glimpse. The world premiere was held at the Hylton Performing Arts Center with the composer in attendance.