The Lincoln Public Schools founded the Lincoln Youth Symphony in 1957. Students from throughout the city were invited to be charter members of an exciting new project. It was the goal of the founders to create a ‘cream of the crop’ orchestra made up of the city’s best young performers.
The orchestra has maintained this excellence throughout its history and as a result, many musicians in Lincoln and around the country have begun their musical careers with the Lincoln Youth Symphony experience. In 2008, the orchestra celebrated the fifty year anniversary with a gala concert tribute to all of the alumni members, many of whom joined the orchestra for a performance. The alumni orchestra was conducted by Larry Maupin, a well-loved violin teacher and conductor in Grand Island, who had been a charter member himself.
The Lincoln Youth Symphony is proud of its long history of excellent conductors and staff. Among the past orchestra conductors are: Bernard Nevin, Eugene Stoll, Orville Voss, June Moore, Harold Levin, Brian Moore, Michael Swartz, Huadong Lu and Bob Krueger. Thanks in part to their dedication; the Youth Symphony has produced outstanding musicians and orchestras.
The orchestra’s extensive travel history has included visits to Austria, Prague, Budapest, and, in 2009, Rome. It has also appeared at national music conferences in Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. Recently, the Orchestra has been involved in international performances and cultural exchanges with youth orchestras in Mexico City, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou, China. As part of the Chinese exchange, LYS and the orchestra from Guangzhou gave a joint performance in Kimball Recital Hall in the fall of 2000. LYS completed a successful performance trip to Beijing, China, and performed a concert at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in March, 2003. In the spring of 2005 the orchestra toured Austria, playing concerts in Vienna, Graz, and Bad Ischl with additional visits to Salzburg and Innsbruck.