Youth Philharmonic Orchestra

David Loebel, Music Director

Hugh Wolff, Resident Conductor

Founded in 1962, the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (YPO) is the senior-most orchestra at New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School. It is composed of 90 gifted young musicians between the ages of 14–18, who are selected annually from over 1000 applicants. In an unusual and rich artistic partnership between youth orchestra and college conservatory, the YPO is guided by Music Director David Loebel, NEC Associate Director of Orchestras, and Resident Conductor Hugh Wolff, Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Orchestras.

YPO's Sixteen international concert tours have enriched audiences on four continents and established YPO as one of the finest youth orchestras in the world. In 2007, the orchestra traveled to China, giving concerts in several major cities and collaborating with young Chinese musicians. The orchestra has played in some of the finest concert halls of the world, including Santiago, Chile’s Teatro Municipal, and the Teatros Muncipal of Sao Paulo, the Rio de Janeiro and Musikverein in Vienna, and Reykjavik's Harpa Concert Hall. 

Praising “the highly talented teenagers who fill the ranks of the YPO,” and their “expressively charged and technically accomplished performances,” Boston Globe music critic Jeremy Eichler has written: “One of the special pleasures of hearing a youth orchestra comes from knowing that many of its members have been encountering the music, even a cornerstone of the repertory like the Brahms [Fourth Symphony], for the very first time. As a result, the playing can sometimes brim with the visceral thrill of discovery. That was the case here.”

YPO tours biannually with trips that span all corners of the globe. Most recently, YPO embarked on a 10-day tour of Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest in June 2019. 

The next YPO tour will occur in June of 2021. Please note that during a tour year, it is mandatory for YPO members to go on tour.

Rehearsals: Saturdays, 3:10–6:00 PM in Brown Hall

2019-2020 Concert Schedule

Sunday, October 13, 2019
3:00 PM in Jordan Hall

Thursday, November 21, 2019
7:30 PM in Jordan Hall

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
7:30 PM in Jordan Hall

Sunday, April 26, 2020
8:00 PM in Jordan Hall

Thursday, June 4, 2020
7:30 PM in Jordan Hall


2019 - 20 Repertoire highlights include:

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 (Pathèthique)

Respighi: Fountains of Rome

Mussorgsky: Picture at an Exhibition


2018 - 19 Repertoire highlights included:

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor

Bernstein: Fancy Free: Three Dance Variations

Mahler: Totenfeier

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor

Placement and Seating Audition Information

New this year, NEC Prep will be reviewing all large ensemble auditions via video. For more information, please click here

Entrance Requirements: Open by audition to highly advanced pre-college players. Admission to YPO is extremely competitive. While orchestral assignments are made by level, not age, most members of YPO are in grades 10–12.

Seating Audition Sign-up: After gaining admission to the ensemble, all YPO students will take a seating audition.  Seating auditions occur in September. 


YPO Rehearsal Calendar 2019-20


Attendance is required at all regularly scheduled classes, rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and performances. The full attendance policy may be reviewed on our website through the following link. Prep Attendance Policy

Still have questions?

Contact Claudia Encinas, Large Ensembles Manager, by email, or call the NEC Prep hotline at  (617) 585-1160.

During the academic year, YPO members can also contact the YPO student manager.