Western Australian Youth Orchestras (WAYO) is a not for profit registered charity which, since 1974, has been providing exceptional musical performance opportunities for young Western Australians and our audiences.
For over 40 years WAYO has inspired young people to achieve excellence through a love of music, while also helping them develop skills of self-esteem, discipline, teamwork, leadership and performance. As one of Australia’s leading and most comprehensive youth orchestra programs, with over 400 members from around Perth, South West WA and beyond, WAYO is committed to the long-term investment of helping our young musicians realise their potential and their dreams. WAYO is a family of orchestras, ensembles, and initiatives, with the flagship WA Youth Orchestra at the helm. You can read more about our ensembles here.
My early interest came from running ‘May Music Camp for young WA musicians’ from the late 1960’s until 1984 when, together with two friends (Elizabeth Hewgill and Amanda Drybrough), we started up ‘Saturday Morning Music”. This program was set up to provide orchestral experiences for young string players and to be a feeder group for the University Training Orchestra; a combined university and community member orchestra with Graham Wood as its conductor. Graham became the artistic director and chief conductor until the mid 70’s when we added more senior conductors to take the various groups. ‘Saturday Morning Music at the Uni’ became the WA Youth Orchestra in 1980, then comprising three orchestras (one symphony and two string orchestras), and totalling players of 100 plus. This has now steadied into annually ~400 players in two symphony orchestras, two junior string orchestras, and a flute choir. – Carol Day
The WA Youth Orchestra has a rich performance history.
The orchestra showcases the talents of Perth and Western Australia’s young orchestral musicians aged 12 – 24 years old and has a deserved reputation as one of the finest youth orchestras in Australia. WAYO present a large number of main stage concerts each year at Perth’s premier concert venues and perform to annual audiences of over 40,000 a year. Since being founded in 1974, the WAYO has performed throughout Western Australia, as well as an array of performances in London, Prague, Berlin, Mannheim, Brussels, Paris, Singapore, and Hyogo. In addition to a committed international touring program, the past decade has seen WAYO enjoy increased exposure to guest conductors of international standing including renowned Russian conductor Vladimir Verbitsky, Estonian Maestro Arvo Volmer, and the eminent Singapore-based conductor Tze Law Chan.
In 1998 WAYO was invited by the Hyogo Prefecture to tour Japan, giving seven concerts throughout the Hyogo and Tottori Prefectures, furthering an already strong sister state relationship.WAYO performed in in Europe in 2005, Singapore in December 2009 as part of their tour to Asia, and was the first youth orchestra in the world to perform in the famous Concert Hall on the Esplanade Theatre, Singapore. In 2016 WAYO returned to Singapore and Japan, thrilling audiences with a collaboration with Orchestra of the Music Makers (Singapore) and soloist Alexandre Da Costa, and a special repeat performance in Hyogo, reliving the performance and visit of 1998.
In 2012 WAYO was also the first youth orchestra in the world to perform with Maestro Ennio Morricone in a sell-out performance at Burswood/Crown Theatre for the 2012 Perth International Arts Festival. This major event was one of the most successful in PIAF’s history. In 2016 WAYO was the featured orchestra in the 2016 PIAF opening Home to an audience of 30,000. The orchestra has previously performed at large major scale outdoor concerts around Perth, including ten consecutive annual seasons of a themed concert in Burswood Park since 2008, and collaborations with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in King’s Park in 2005 and 2009. WAYO has also performed with music theatre star, Lucy Durack, jazz vocalist, Grace Knight, and iconic pop band, The Whitlams, as well as the Joondalup Resort and Leeuwin Estate Concert Series’. In addition to large-scale concerts WAYO presents its renowned sell-out Children Concerts and Outreach Concerts to facilitate educational exchange, learning, and mentorship.