About AYO

The Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO) has a reputation for being one of the world’s most prestigious and innovative training organisations for young pre-professional musicians. Our training pathway has been created to nurture the musical development of Australia’s finest young instrumentalists across metropolitan and regional Australia: from the emerging, gifted, school-aged student, to those on the verge of a professional career. AYO presents tailored training and performance programs each year for aspiring musicians, composers, arts administrators and music journalists aged 12 to 30.

When Professor John Bishop OBE and Ruth Alexander convened the first National Music Camp in 1948, they created an institution that would fire the imaginations of over 12,000 young Australian musicians, see its orchestras tour the globe and instil in its participants a love of music and a dedication to the highest standards of performance.

AYO occupies a special place in the musical culture of Australia, where one generation of brilliant musicians inspires the next, where aspiring musicians get a taste of life as professional musicians, and where like-minded individuals from all over the country gather for intense periods to learn from each other, study and perform.

On the world stage, AYO has established itself as a cultural ambassador for Australia on twenty-three international tours since its first in 1970. Today, countless AYO alumni are members of some of the finest professional orchestras worldwide.



That all young Australians are empowered with musical knowledge, imagination and a love of music.



To provide professional leadership and inspiration to talented young Australian musicians, enabling them to expand and extend their classical music education training and experience, through national and international programs and performance of the highest standards.


Guiding Principles

  • To create opportunities nationally in which young musicians work, perform and interact with music professionals, so as to be influenced by their standards, practice and performance, and to benefit from pathways to professional careers.
  • To promote increased awareness and appreciation of Australian music by encouraging young Australian composers and instrumentalists, and the performance of Australian music.
  • To promote and practice equality of opportunity in, and access to, the Australian Youth Orchestra programs and selection processes, including overcoming financial and geographical barriers to participation.


The AYO is a not for profit organisation. All donations over $2 to the Australian Youth Orchestra are tax deductible. ABN number: 42 004 355 739