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Who We Are

Mission & History

Our Story

The Denver Young Artists Orchestra (DYAO) is Colorado's premier youth symphony for talented young artists aged 7 to 23. Since 1977, DYAO has inspired a love for symphonic music through our award-winning orchestral programming that engages youth in music, elevates talented young artists, and uplifts the music community.

For 45 years, the Denver Young Artists Orchestra has nurtured the talents of the Rocky Mountain region’s finest young musicians as an integral part of their musical education. DYAO transforms the lives of young musicians by giving them the inspiration, support, and skills to be tomorrow’s great musicians and leaders.

Our alumni have moved on to top universities and conservatories, many of them performing with the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, Colorado Symphony, and many other fantastic organizations. As arts supporters, concert-goers, community professionals, and professional musicians, they contribute to the cultural fabric of their communities.

Our Mission

The mission of DYAO is to expose young musicians and audiences to the joy and beauty of symphonic music, pursuing excellence through exceptional orchestral training, unique and diverse performance opportunities, and new pathways to symphonic experiences.

Ultimately, we seek to cultivate the next generation of musicians who will reimagine the future of symphonic music in our community.

DYAO’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

DYAO acknowledges that historically, and in the present day, orchestras have been primarily rooted in traditions that excluded many groups from participation. DYAO is committed to training young artists for a future of the artform that is more inclusive than its history. With DYAO’s support, our young artists will reimagine the future of symphonic music.

Our outreach, programming, and musical selections will represent the diversity of Colorado including racial, ethnic, gender identity & expression, individuals that identify as LGBTQ+, and individuals of varying abilities and neurodiversity. We believe music should be a safe space for all people to express themselves authentically, and we want to create an inclusive environment for students to engage with orchestral music. DYAO will incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of our music education and artistic programming. The below items are annual commitments for how we will enact our DEI commitment as well as how these efforts further our mission: 

  • Annually, DYAO performs at least 25% (last few years have been approximately 30-35%) music by historically underrepresented composers (Women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+). DYAO will continue to make music selection decisions and commission music with representation in mind. By showcasing different artists, we can expose young musicians to the joy and beauty of symphonic music in ways that uniquely resonate. 
  • DYAO will work towards providing more multilingual (Spanish and English currently) programs, newsletters, and documents, and to create a more accessible website.
  • Annually, DYAO will review their internal staff hiring processes and board selection to support the increased hiring and election of people from diverse backgrounds. DYAO also makes sure that students will receive support or mentorship from musicians, teachers, or conductors who are underrepresented. Engaging with experts from different backgrounds will help DYAO students pursue excellence through exceptional orchestral training.
  • Annually, DYAO conducts outreach programs, such as Tune Up and Musical Pathways, which are aimed at providing equitable access for students across language differences, economic differences, and in regions and schools that are significantly more diverse than locations with more supported music programs. These efforts will provide new pathways to symphonic experiences.
  • Annually, DYAO collaborates with organizations from different backgrounds, including racially diverse arts organizations and local community organizations with underrepresented histories. We believe this provides our students with an opportunity for unique and diverse performance opportunities. Some of the organizations DYAO has collaborated with include: ArtistiCO, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, and Phamaly Theatre.

DYAO’s Commitment and Action Statement was created with representatives from its students, parents, board, and staff.  It is intended to accompany the more detailed Strategic and DEI plans reviewed each year. While DYAO recognizes it still has work to do, the numbers in our orchestras, staff, and board are showing increasing diversity and representation from the community.

Our Impact This Year

  • Scholarships Awarded


  • Volunteer Hours


  • Dollars Raised


  • Program Participants


© 2024 Denver Young Artists Orchestra

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