The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra's extensive education and outreach programs have delighted thousands of young people and earned the praise and gratitude of parents and teachers. Orchestral leaders and teachers alike believe that music encourages children to be more creative and strengthens listening and language skills. Prior to CoVid-19, our musicians go to area schools to perform great music, and masterclasses are held for accomplished students.
During the typical season, professional guest artists who are featured in the Williamsburg Symphony’s Masterworks concert series often volunteer to teach a masterclass that is open to the public. At no cost, area students have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play for a renowned professional artist and to receive individual instruction in front of an audience.
In addition to masterclasses, The Williamsburg Symphony offers instrumental coaching. We believe that our professional musicians should be an inspiration to young musicians. The WSO arranges for musicians to meet with small groups of students in school orchestra and band programs to work on technique and mastery of the instrument. These classes are free of charge, with 25 classes offered in area schools each season (Grades 5-12). Since the Spring of 2020, our musicians have been holding these instrumental coaching sessions online virtually for students near and far, expanding our educational reach in new and exciting ways.
View our most recent masterclasses below.
The Williamsburg Youth Orchestras, established in 1995 by local musicians and parents, gives area students the opportunity to play in a full orchestra. Thanks to support from arts commissions as well as private and corporate donations, WYO has expanded to include a string orchestra, a chamber music program and a Side-by-Side concert with the Symphony. The first Side-by-Side was presented in May 2013; the second took place on April 26, 2015, at 4 p.m., at the Ferguson Center in Newport News.
The WYO Symphony Orchestra remains the only full orchestral experience available to school-age musicians in the Williamsburg area. The WYO String Orchestras build ensemble musicianship and playing skills. These groups perform a minimum of three concerts together each season.
To learn more about the WYO, visit www.wyomusic.org.
Executive Director: Tanya Song
Music Director: David Grandis
The mission of the Williamsburg Youth Orchestras is to help talented and motivated young musicians in the region develop their full potential as orchestra performers by providing them with the music education programs and performance opportunities that they need.
To meet its mission, the WYO has the following goals:
Donate your retired instruments to deserving young musicians and help them fulfill their dreams of making beautiful music. Donations of instruments are tax deductible.
The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra is collaborating with the Williamsburg Music Club and other organizations to expand our supply of musical instruments for students in need throughout the greater Williamsburg area. Our Instruments for Kids program has found happy homes for many devices.
WSO Executive Director Carolyn Keurajian is shown accepting a new violin from Dave DeBlass of Schmidt Florist, Inc. Thank you!
WSO VP - Education Jack Wagner is heading this program and will be pleased to provide more information or to pick up your donation. Email him at email@example.com.
“Thanks for coming and performing for our students. Your team was awesome, and the kids and staff really enjoyed it. I heard a lot of them humming the songs throughout the day in their classrooms.”
Gary Black - Principal, Stonehouse Elementary School
A generous grant by John C. Jamison enabled hundreds of elementary level children in the WJC system and area private schools to hear a live performance by The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra of Prokofiev's charming tale set to music in 2017. Between Jan. 12 and Jan. 23, 2017, Music Director Janna Hymes conducted an ensemble from Williamsburg's own professional orchestra to the delight of the students and the appreciation of teachers and parents.
Mr. Jamison first heard Peter and the Wolf as a four-year-old pre-school student attending a performance by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. This seminal experience was the beginning of his life-long devotion to Sergei Prokofiev's 1936 composition as a teaching tool. When Mr. Jamison narrated the score six years ago, he observed how the students became mesmerized by the characters' sounds as portrayed by the instruments in the orchestra. "Exposure to classical music and musicians creates an indelible link in a child's mind," he says.
Narrating the tale of Peter and friends this year was Kelly Kennedy, a featured musician and vocalist with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation as well as an actor well known to regional theater audiences. Ms. Kelly and Ms. Hymes introduced the "characters," and the musicians gave an impromptu solo to demonstrate the instruments' sounds. A lively Q&A session ended the program.
Want more information? Contact Us.
An educational concert which takes place during the school day. Musicians from the Symphony, usually a trio or quartet, visit Williamsburg / James City / York County elementary schools providing students with an overview of classical music, terminology, and a concert. The students have the opportunity to interact with the musicians, play an instrument following the concert, and ask questions.