Founded by Paul van Dongen, the Niagara Youth Orchestra is the premiere training ground for young orchestral musicians under 25 years old in the Niagara region.

Led by professional coaches and conductors who are affiliated with orchestras across the province, the junior and senior members of the Niagara Youth Orchestra receive extensive music education and performance experiences through regular concert seasons and special events. 

The Junior Niagara Youth Orchestra (JNYO) provides young musicians with the opportunity to develop their skills by working with coaches and the conductor, exposing them to challenging music in both their individual ensemble groups and as an orchestra as well as providing them with performance experience. String players in this group ten to be around 9 - 13 years old, while winds, brass and percussionists tend to be around 11 - 14 years old. 

The Senior Niagara Youth Orchestra (NYO) provides an excellent training ground for young musicians who have had a minimum of two years of private instruction on their instrument. Many NYO musicians continue to pursue professional music careers. Music repertoire is chosen to help build their knowledge of great Classical and contemporary works. String players in this group tend to be around 13 years old and up, while winds, brass and percussionists tend to be around 14 years old and up. There is a mix of some elementary aged, high school and some university musicians in this group. 

The senior members recently toured to Austria and Newfoundland and participated in exchanges with other youth orchestras in North America. The junior members recently completed a tour to Quebec in Spring 2014.

Laura Thomas is the Music Director and Conductor of the NYO, our senior orchestra and Michael van Dongen is the Music Director and Conductor of the JNYO, our junior orchestra. They are both long-time members of the Niagara Symphony. 

For more information on the Niagara Youth Orchestra, please contact:

Desiree Chan
General Manager