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 Norway in June 2017. This international concert tour included orchestra concerts in Oslo, Valdres, Bergen, and Stavanger.

The next YPO tour will occur in June of 2019. 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

    2018-2019 Concert Schedule

    Thursday, November 15, 2018
    7:30 PM in Jordan Hall

    Tuesday, February 5, 2019
    7:30 PM in Jordan Hall

    Sunday, April 28, 2019
    8:00 PM in Jordan Hall

    YPO Tour to Central Europe
    June 18 - 27, 2019


    2018 - 19 Repertoire highlights include:

    Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor

    Bernstein: Fancy Free: Three Dance Variations

    Mahler: Totenfeier

    Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor


    2017 - 18 Repertoire highlights included:

    Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

    Respighi: Pines of Rome

    Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1


    Placement and Seating Audition Information

    Auditions for YPO are held in the spring for the following year. Additional audition times may be available in the fall for any remaining openings. 

    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 during the seating audition weekend, September 8 - 9, 2018. 

    Sign-up for a seating audition

    Seating Audition Requirements: YPO students should prepare one solo work or movement of their choice. Additionally, students should prepare the required excerpts for their instrument which can be found below.

    Seating Audition Excerpts: Students should download, print and prepare the excerpts appropriate to their instrument. All excerpts are ensemble specific and the following excerpts should only be prepared by students admitted to YPO. Please contact Laura Mixter, Large Ensemble Coordinator, with any questions you may have.

    YPO 2018 - String seating audition excerpts

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    YPO 2018 - Wind, Brass, and Harp seating audition excerpts

    View full PDF

    YPO 2018 - Percussion seating audition excerpts

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    For Current Students


    YPO 2018 - 2019 Rehearsal Calendar

    View full PDF


    Attendance is required at all regularly scheduled classes, rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and performances. The full attendance policy may be reviewed here.

    Still have questions?

    Contact Laura Mixter, Large Ensemble Coordinator, 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.