Our History

Ellis Hills Johnson Home ~

Current MYS Office 

MYS Hall

Mesa Arts Center

In the spring of 1982, Mesa Public Schools’ Wayne Roederer, and interested parents and music educators from the East Valley began exploring the potential for developing a youth orchestra. Their goal was to provide a challenging program of excellence in orchestral music for young school musicians through the ninth grade. The first Metropolitan Youth Symphony season was launched that very year as more than 150 young people participated in the September auditions. The gala premiere concert, November 10, 1982, featured two strings orchestras and one full symphony orchestra.

The growth of Metropolitan Youth Symphony has been impressive. Currently in our 38th season, the members of MYS are divided into four string orchestras, one full symphonic orchestra, and a symphonic wind ensemble. Auditionees through the 12th grade are placed by performance ability in the appropriate ensemble. As they progress, they have the opportunity to move into more advanced ensembles. Each season, our members attend weekly rehearsals and perform in at least four formal concerts. In addition to our large ensembles, MYS offers a Fiddler’s group, an Honors Quartets program, a homeschools’ beginning instrumental program. We are excited and looking forward to offering Guitar Orchestras in the 39th Season.

Metropolitan Youth Symphony is widely recognized in the Phoenix metropolitan area and is known for musical excellence. In partnership with the schools, local professional musicians, community outreach programs, and a vibrant board of directors, MYS encourages participation from every district and school program in the valley. We are proud to offer a unique and high quality musical experience for youth seldom found at any school level. The ensembles have been invited to perform in a variety of locations including Phoenix Symphony Hall, the Mesa City Amphitheater, Disneyland, the Arizona Music Educators Association annual conference, and multiple performances in Washington, D.C. Our Division 1 members received the honor of performing at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall under the direction of Wayne Roederer, founder and current Musical Director Laureate. Our current Division 1 members will receive the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall for the second time in June 2020.

MYS ensembles are pleased to perform in the Mesa Arts Center, a $94.5 million facility, as one of the Mesa Arts Center’s founding resident companies.