Applications for AYO’s 2025 programs are now open! As AYO programs cater to a large age range, from high-school students to university graduates looking to begin their musical careers, we thought we’d chart a visual journey through the AYO pathway.  

Where it all begins – AYO Young Symphonists  

AYO Young Symphonists is a one-week intensive program which is many musicians’ first introduction to AYO! Everyone on this program is 18 or younger and plays in one orchestra, which allows for musicians to take on section leadership roles who may not have had the chance to before. 

During this program they also have the opportunity to take part in professional development sessions run by the fantastic instrumental tutors joining on camp as well as internal chamber music showcases! The program culminates in a public concert at the end of the week – last year the Young Symphonists orchestra performed to a packed house at Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre and received a standing ovation.

two young doublebassists with their instruments

Getting stuck in – AYO National Music Camp  

AYO National Music Camp has run in some form for an incredible 76 years! Established by Ruth Alexander and John Bishop along with other ground-breaking musical educators in Australia, two full-sized orchestras at camp are always named ‘Bishop’ and ‘Alexander’ in tribute to these founders.  

Camp has now become an epic adventure each year – with a chamber orchestra performing alongside the two symphony orchestras, seven concerts across two weeks, and more than 220 participants! 

And of course, participants get the chance to work with world class conductors and tutors who are hand-picked from the major orchestras from across the country. No big deal! 

Expanding your artistic horizons – AYO Chamber Players  

AYO Chamber Players is a one-week intensive program entirely focused on the art of small ensemble chamber music.  

It is a chance for musicians who are ready to think independently, take on new challenges and finesse their ensemble playing.  

Reaching great heights on the world’s stages – Australian Youth Orchestra (flagship ensemble) 

The Australian Youth Orchestra is AYO’s flagship ensemble. The orchestra performs two seasons a year and is re-auditioned annually like all AYO programs – being in the orchestra one year does not guarantee entry the following year (and past unsuccessful applications do not have any bearing either).   

This orchestra gets to work with world-renowned conductors and soloists – during this year’s Autumn Season, the orchestra was led by conductor Alexandre Bloch and performed alongside star violinist Satu Vänskä of the Australian Chamber Orchestra! 

A side view of an orchestra

Reimagining musical careers in the 21st Century – AYO Momentum Ensemble 

Momentum Ensemble is breaking down barriers which can exist in musical careers. The reason this ensemble was formed was to provide an opportunity for exceptional young musicians to get a taste of the many different facets of a musical career in the 21st century! 

Over the past two years, Momentum Ensemble activities have included residencies at regional conservatoriums, performances boldly fusing musical genres, and collaborative workshops with primary and secondary school students.  

A group of string players