The Long Island Youth Orchestra (LIYO) was founded in 1962 by Music Director, Martin Dreiwitz. Originally organized as the North Shore Youth Orchestra, the ensemble held its first rehearsal in the cafeteria of the Willets Road School in Roslyn Heights. The formation of the orchestra was both innovative and experimental. At the time there were no permanent youth orchestras operating in the greater New York area and only handful were organized nationally.
No one at that first rehearsal could have imagined the continued growth of LIYO membership, that the orchestra would perform concerts in the far corners of the globe, that it would have nearly 4,000 alumni, or that it would still be serving the talented musical youth of Long Island on a regular basis 55 years later.
To this day, the orchestra’s mission remains the same: to draw together a family of exceptionally talented young players to give them the opportunity to rehearse and perform challenging music not normally available at their respective schools. Currently, the youth orchestra has been led for the past five seasons by LIYO’s second ever Music Director and Conductor, and alumnus Scott Dunn.
The orchestra presents four concerts each season in facilities throughout Long Island. Through these performance many musical styles and periods are played in order to expose musicians to as wide a musical spectrum as possible. Any player who remains in the orchestra for two or more seasons is likely to have seen and played almost the complete spectrum of orchestral styles. Furthermore, the orchestra provides a training ground for the development of orchestral techniques, which serve the players in a conservatory setting at college or in a community orchestra. By bringing together so many gifted young men and women from all over Long Island, the orchestra serves as a cultural and social gathering place. LIYO offers its players a unique opportunity to meet, work with and get to know their musical peers in order to develop an ever-growing musical family that will last them the rest of their lives.