The Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra is among the oldest orchestras of its kind in California and has performed in Carnegie Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, and toured in Germany and the Czech Republic. Members typically have more performing opportunities than students in the Preparatory and Repertory Orchestras and must be committed to a strict routine of rehearsals, private lessons, and at-home practice. Music performed is from the standard symphonic orchestral repertoire. Members are typically ages 14-23.
Formed in October 1959 as the Sonoma County Junior Symphony under the direction of founding conductor, Eugene Shepherd, the orchestra's name was changed in 1994 to the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra and is currently led by Dr. Richard Loheyde. The Youth Orchestra has helped prepare those musicians who pursued a professional music career with numerous professional ensembles throughout California, including the Santa Rosa Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Oakland Symphony, Musica Angelica, Sacramento Symphony and Napa Valley Symphony.