History of the Youth Orchestras of Prince William
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, and in 2003 we inaugurated the Wind Symphony - our sixth ensemble - to provide enrichment for Middle School age wind, brass, and percussion 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.
The Youth Orchestras of Prince William have supported active composers by programming new works regularly, and over recent years students from the Repertory Orchestra to the Youth Symphony Orchestra have also performed a number of world premieres.