Our Mission

The San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory instills excellence in the musical and personal development of students through rigorous and inspiring musical training experiences.  We pursue this mission by:

  • Interacting with all musical communities to broaden cultural horizons.
  • Embracing the diversity of current and prospective students.
  • Enriching the community through programs and collaborations that increase access to and appreciation of classical music.


Since 1945, San Diego Youth Symphony (SDYS) has given thousands of musicians the opportunity to study and perform classical repertoire at a highly advanced level. It is the sixth oldest continuously operating youth orchestra in the United States and the resident youth orchestra in the City of San Diego's historic Balboa Park. SDYS' programs have grown during the seventeen-year tenure of Music Director Jeff Edmons from one advanced orchestra of 60 students to over 600 participating in 11 orchestral and wind ensembles at the advanced, intermediate and introductory levels. SDYS also offers chamber music, soloist competitions, group lessons, and community partnership opportunities to students enrolled in the Balboa Park Programs, including the annual International Youth Symphony.

As the region's leading youth music program, SDYS attracts student musicians of all skill levels from across San Diego County as well as neighboring Imperial and Riverside counties. SDYS' musical excellence has been recognized nationally with a Music Alive/League of American Orchestras "Composer-in-Residence" award. In its 67 years history, the orchestra has performed 13 foreign concert tours in 18 foreign countries. It now hosts the only International Youth Symphony exchange program organized by Rotary International Youth Exchange.

SDYS student musicians routinely participate in national and international music camps, including Tanglewood, Interlochen, Aspen, and the Kennedy Center. In addition to students' musical successes while enrolled with SDYS, many have gone on to leading conservatories and professional careers in performance, composition, and music education.