About This Program

GTCYS joins forces with the SPCO to present a FREE family concert in the Ordway Music Theater! Why do composers write what they do? Join the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonys' Philharmonia East and Symphony orchestras and actor Dylan Fresco as they journey together to explore musical inspirations and interpretations of several orchestral masterpieces. Listen as we explore the Russian folktale of “The Firebird” that led to Igor Stravinsky’s masterful Suite of the same name, and a piece by contemporary composer Michael Abels that draws inspiration from all around the world!


Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) broadens access to orchestral music and serves 15,500 children and adults annually through core educational programs, free outreach activities and workshops, concerts, and special performances. GTCYS has been providing a rigorous and inspiring orchestral experience for young musicians since 1972. Led by Artistic Director Mark Russell Smith, outstanding conductors, and coaches from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) and Minnesota Orchestra, GTCYS serves more than 900 students ages 8-18 through eight academic-year orchestras and two summer programs. This season, a new program, Harmony, provides music instruction to 3rd graders on the West Side of St. Paul.

GTCYS’ 16,000 alumni include leaders in every field who developed lifelong values of teamwork, discipline, and community engagement during their GTCYS experience. Dedicated to increasing access to music education with the help of generous donors, GTCYS awards more than $50,000 in need-based scholarships to students annually.

GTCYS presents 25 annual concerts to 12,000 audience members with performances at Orchestra Hall, The Ordway, and Ted Mann Concert Hall, and free community concerts at homeless shelters, schools, and care centers across the Twin Cities. Renowned for its rich international touring history, GTCYS toured Argentina in June 2016 and performed by invitation at the Granada International Festival of Music and Dance (Spain) in 2014. At home, GTCYS collaborates with world-class artists and organizations including the Minnesota Commissioning Club, the Minnesota Chorale, and pianist Dr. Michael Kim. Since 2011, GTCYS and the SPCO have shared a strategic partnership that enriches GTCYS’ programs and enables both organizations to better serve the community and build classical music audiences. For more information, visit

Please note: The SPCO does not perform on this program


SPCO concerts are made possible by audience contributions.


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