Accessible. Welcoming. Community-driven. Student-focused. Challenging. High quality. Transformative.

The Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS, pronounced git-seez) embodies a holistic approach to music instruction founded on excellence and personal growth in a supportive environment. By focusing on the educational process while upholding rigorous and inspiring standards of excellence, students develop lifelong musical, social, and leadership skills which help position them for success and find meaning in school and beyond. GTCYS serves musicians of all ages and abilities, from beginning to pre-professional, ages 7 to 18. Year-round programs provide accessible entry points, and we provide tuition assistance and support for private lessons so that all students can participate, regardless of financial constraints.

School-Year Orchestras

GTCYS’ eleven school-year orchestras provide a rigorous and inspiring orchestral learning community for more than 900 beginning to pre-professional string, woodwind, brass, and percussion students each year. Students audition annually and are placed by ability in one of our ten orchestras. Every orchestra has weekly evening rehearsals, several annual performances (including two at Orchestra Hall), day retreats, sectionals with professional musicians, social activities, and leadership opportunities like mentoring and service projects. Click on an orchestra to learn more about it! They are listed in order from beginning to advanced.


Harmony is an extra-curricular program in partnership with Riverview Westside School of Excellence on the West Side of St. Paul. Harmony provides third through fifth grade students with access to high quality Violin or Cello instruction and performance opportunities that complement their academic experience and boost personal development. Harmony program breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for students to develop a love of music and become strong learners and leaders.

We are grateful for this year’s funders who have made this program possible, including Xcel Foundation, Aroha Philanthropies, and Minnesota State Arts Board.


Summer Camps

We are excited to offer three in-person week-long summer camps for beginning to advanced strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion students. Half-day sessions take place over one week in the summer, and are led by GTCYS conductors.


International Tours

Touring empowers students with musical, social, and cultural opportunities that will shape their lives for years to come. GTCYS’ flagship orchestra, Symphony, tours internationally every other year. Symphony’s most recent tour was to Southern Italy, in June 2022. Their next tour will be to Barcelona and Southern France in June 2024.


Serving Community.
Supported by Community.

Explore stories from students, staff, families, donors, and alumni. Learn about our programs and community impact.

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