The Austin Symphony:
Backstage with the Arts


Each year through this unique interdisciplinary program, hundreds of children who might never have the opportunity to experience and enjoy the arts attend live performances and visit with the musicians, dancers, artists, actors, and technicians in their behind-the-scenes activities. In the afterschool and weekend sessions, Backstage students are special guests of the Symphony’s conductor during a dress rehearsal of the Austin Symphony, see an Austin ballet troupe in action, hear a rehearsal of the high school All-City Youth Orchestra, tour a TV studio, watch a children’s drama production, and visit an art museum. Backstage with the Arts was picked as one of the eight best educational programs by the American Symphony Orchestra League in 1980 and continues to be a favorite for Austinites. Scholarships are made available for those who cannot afford the enrollment fee.

All-City Youth Orchestra

The finest high school age musicians in Austin, many of them the finest in the state, join together in the 100-member All-City Youth Orchestra. They are led in their rehearsals and two public concerts each year by their own conductor, who is a member of the Austin Independent School District music faculty.

Classical Clinic

Developed in 1979, this program gives young musicians the chance to play in ensembles that are coached by professional musicians from the Austin Symphony. This is a rare opportunity for ensemble work which usually does not occur until the students reach college.

Master Class

Another off-shoot of the All-City Youth Orchestra, the Master Classes enable selected high school players to play for international artists in an informal critique setting. Any high school musician may observe these classes, which are conducted three times annually by artists who are in town to appear as guest performers with the Austin Symphony. Such acclaimed soloists as Gary Karr, the world’s most prominent double bass player, and Paula Robinson, internationally renowned flutist, have offered insights into their techniques, styles, and careers.

Austin Symphony Youth Awards

Talented young musicians 18 and younger who live within a 50-mile radius of Austin compete each spring for Austin Symphony Youth Awards. The competition, sponsored by the Austin District Music Teachers Association, features a piano division as well as the instrumental divisions in strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. The first place winners’ final audition is with the Austin Symphony conductor, and many are chosen to perform with the Orchestra at youth concerts.


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