A youth orchestra on the Helzberg Hall stage at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City performs under the direction of YSKC conductor Michelle Davis. We see only the conductor's back, and her arms are raised as she conducts.

Youth Symphony of Kansas City

Hear the future now

Hear the future now

Creating Meaningful and Enriching Musical Experiences

The Youth Symphony of Kansas City was founded as The Youth Symphony of the Heart of America by Leo Scheer consisting of an orchestra of 80 musicians ages 22 and younger. Incorporated in 1958, YSKC has enjoyed a vibrant history as the musical home to students in Kansas City.

Today, YSKC is the premier youth orchestra program in the region that serves more than 400 musicians in grades 5–12. It comprises four full orchestras, a chamber music program, introductory and advanced chamber orchestras, elective classes, a summer micro-camp, multiple ancillary programs and a new Educational Residency program led by the Opus 76 Quartet. Every opportunity provides quality music education experiences to young musicians representing 111 schools and 57 communities across Kansas and Missouri.

Educating and Inspiring Young Musicians

Throughout its 65 years of programming, Youth Symphony of Kansas City has built an alumni class of more than 11,000; completed international tours to Austria, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain; performed at numerous prestigious festivals and conferences nationwide, including Carnegie Hall; and performed several world premieres of commissioned works. With each performance, the Youth Symphony seeks to educate and inspire our young musicians everywhere through meaningful and enriching musical experiences.

Our Mission & History

Our Programs

Youth Symphony of Kansas City is made up of six large ensembles: our Symphony, Classical, Repertory, Philharmonic, Baroque and Debut Orchestras. Students are placed in ensembles based on their age and a recorded audition.

In addition to our large ensembles, YSKC offers students the opportunity to join chamber ensembles (such as a string quartet or a wind or brass quintet), participate in chamber orchestra, perform as part of our solo and ensemble showcase performances and take elective courses, all through our year-round chamber program, YSKC Academy.

The YSKC Touring Orchestra is made up of 117 students from the Symphony, Classical and Repertory orchestras. Previous tours have included international performances in Austria, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain. In June of 2023, YSKC’s Touring Orchestra performed as part of the Viennese Invitational at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Explore Our Orchestras

A youth orchestra performs on stage. We have a clear view of the conductor from the middle of the first violin section, which is to the conductor's left.


The initial round of auditions for the Youth Symphony of Kansas City’s 2024/25 season is now closed, but as we approach the start of next season, we may be holding additional auditions to fill any open positions. Check back this summer for more info!

Learn More About Auditions

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Ready to join YSKC?

The Youth Symphony of Kansas City furthers its mission by continuing to train the next generation of musicians, performers, patrons, and audience members for the arts.

Ready to join the premier youth music program of the KC metropolitan area? Explore our audition information to learn more! 

Audition Today