Resident Orchestra

DC Youth Orchestra Program


The DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) is the leading ensemble-based music education program in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. Founded in 1960 by Lyn McLain, the mission of DCYOP is “music for young people; achievement for life!” DCYOP offers group lessons and ensemble training on all orchestral instruments for students ages 4 to 18. The program consists of ten orchestras including the renowned Youth Orchestra. DCYOP derives its success from a strong emphasis on musical achievement and excellence. Each week, 40 renowned faculty members teach over 100 classes to 600 students at DCYOP’s main-site. Throughout the year, students perform concerts locally, nationally and internationally, all of which are free and open to the public. For over 50 years, DCYOP has been a part of the Washington community by fostering the musical development and changing the lives of over 50,000 youth. DCYOP was the first youth orchestra to perform at the Kennedy Center, has toured 22 countries, played for numerous U.S. presidents and foreign diplomats and worked with esteemed musicians such as Aaron Copland, Lorin Maazel, Mstislav Rostropovich, and most recently, Gustavo Dudamel, Joshua Bell and Yo-Yo Ma.

In 2017, the DC Youth Orchestra traveled to Chile on a US Department of State sponsored trip where it performed for President Bachelet in La Moneda, Chile’s Presidential Palace. The organization has received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award and the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education. DCYOP is proud to be an inclusive organization and welcomes all students that wish to participate regardless of background, socioeconomic status or ability. Thanks to a substantial network of donors, DCYOP is able to make its program affordable and accessible to all. This enables children from diverse backgrounds to experience the joy of learning and making music together. DCYOP serves 600 students from 250 different schools and 100 different neighborhoods. Importantly, it has expanded its partnership with the public schools by offering free daily musical instruction to students ages 8-12 in under-performing schools. More at www.dcyop.org