The mission of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra is to inspire and cultivate excellence in youth through music education, ensemble building, and performance opportunities.
The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit, was founded in 1972 by a group of parents, educators, and musicians who valued music education and the outcomes it could provide. The program cultivates learning and creativity, as well as social and motivational skills in around 470 talented young musicians, performing in ten ensembles. GDYO musicians socialize with a diverse group of highly talented peers from over 50 communities in the Metroplex, as well as interacting with professionals from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Dallas Opera Orchestra, the Dallas Winds and multiple other local music ensembles.
Richard and Jean Lord, along with the McCook and Tompsett families, co-founded the GDYO in the fall of 1972.
One orchestra, 35 musicians.
First conductor: Yves L’Helgoual’ch
Rehearsed at St. Mark’s School of Texas
First concerto competition: 1974-75 season.
Winner Jim Thomas, Clarinet.
Richard Giangiulio named Music Director 1980
Growth to three orchestras:
- The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra
- The Dallas Junior Symphony
- The Dallas String Ensemble
Membership includes 170 musicians from 68 schools, and 18 districts
Administration includes part-time Secretary, Librarian and Stage Manager
First full-time Executive Director hired
Young Performers Orchestra founded, a beginning level string ensemble for children ages 5-9
Move to first permanent home, Sammons Center for the Arts, providing office, rehearsal and recital space
First full-time Orchestra Manager/Librarian hired
Meyerson Concert Series initiated with 4 full-length formal concerts in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
John Sharp, principal cellist Chicago Symphony Orchestra, performs as Guest Soloist with the GDYO
Membership in mid 90’s includes 267 students representing 132 schools and 34 communities
Texas Boys Choir joins the GDYO on a Mother’s Day Concert at the Meyerson
FIRST TOUR, France and Switzerland, June 1994
SECOND TOUR, France June, 1996.
Dallas Symphony Music Director Andrew Litton begins annual guest conducting relationship
Fall 1997, the Fifth orchestra, the Sinfonietta, is added to the program. Enrollment grows to 335
THIRD TOUR, England and Scotland, June 1998.
Fall 1999, a sixth ensemble, The Wind Symphony is added to the program under the direction of David Kehler.
Total enrollment grows to 365.
The GDYO participates in the American Symphony Orchestra League’s National Youth Orchestra Festival.
DSO Composer-in-Residence Lowell Liebermann conducts his composition Kontrapunktus with the GDYO
FOURTH TOUR, Germany and Czech Republic, June 2001
2002 30th Anniversary Season includes guest soloists Terrence Wilson, Cho-Liang Lin, & Ko Iwasaki
GDYO accompanies Sidney Poitier and others in Dallas Center for Performing Arts Gala
Orchestras perform for Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras and Texas Bandmasters Association
Wind Symphony performs first ever Side-by-Side Concert with Dallas Wind Symphony
FIFTH TOUR, Germany, Poland & Czech Republic, June 2004
Alumnus Jun Iwasaki performs Brahms Violin Concerto in “Homecoming” Concert
SIXTH TOUR, China & Hong Kong, June 2007 with Alessio Bax piano soloist
December 2007, GDYO performs 9th annual Holiday Magic concert with Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas
WIND SYMPHONY MAKES FIRST INTERNATIONAL TOUR, China, June 2008
Flute Choir formed, total enrollment 425
GDYO celebrates 40th Anniversary Season (11-12), total enrollment 440
SEVENTH TOUR, Germany & the Czech Republic, June 2012
Summer 2013, ensembles perform for Texas Bandmasters Association Convention and National Flute Association Convention
2014 GDYO musicians perform a side-by-side with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for DSO Family Concert Series
2014-2015 GDYO launches GDYO Jazz Institute
EIGHTH TOUR, China, June 2015
2016 GDYO welcomes new Executive Director Cathy Hernandez (also an alumna of the program, 1990)
2017 GDYO launches GDYO Community Engagement Partnership with DISD. GDYO Institute reformed as GDYO Jazz, with Kris Berg named as Director.
2018 GDYO serving over 465 students plus an additional approx. 2,000 under-served Dallas youths through outreach initiatives.
Summer 2019 Wind Ensemble tours Italy
March 2020 GDYO shuts down for the remainder of the season after the GDYO’s third concert in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2020-2021 Richard Giangiulio celebrates 40th anniversary with the GDYO.
2020-2021 GDYO responds to the COVID-19 pandemic by moving to fully online instruction featuring recording projects, masterclasses with professional conductors, composers and musicians. Moves to socially distanced rehearsals as more information about the virus becomes available and is able to livestream and record concerts in May of 2022.
Summer 2021 GDYO partners with the Dallas Independent School District to provide free summer strings camp for Dallas students.
2021-2022 GDYO Returns to in person rehearsals and concerts.
Deepens partnership with DISD offering free events to Dallas students including jam sessions and joint rehearsals.
2022-2023 GDYO launches Clarinet Choir with Dr Jun Qian serving as conductor bringing the number of ensembles to ten.