About MYS

About MYS

Metropolitan Youth Symphony educates, develops and promotes young musicians.

MYS provides music education and performance opportunities for young musicians of all ages and levels of experience. Now in our 48th year, we enroll over 400 youth from the Portland Metro and SW Washington areas in 14 ensembles including orchestra, band (returning Fall 2023), jazz, and percussion. This includes three String Ensembles, entry-level through upper-intermediate level, that meet on Saturdays in Hillsboro. Additionally, MYS offers theory classes, a mid-winter chamber music program, and a one week summer chamber music camp, Portland Summer Ensembles. Our commitment to access is foundational. MYS has a strong tuition assistance program that welcomes all students regardless of their financial circumstances, a tuition-free Beginning Strings program with classes on Saturday in Portland and after school in Hillsboro, and a school outreach program that performs 15 in-school concerts each season for over 5,000 students from under-served schools.

MYS Music Director Raúl Gómez-Rojas leads a team of professional conductors and instrumental coaches who work with our students each Saturday in Portland and Hillsboro. We believe that quality music education taught in a supportive but challenging environment gives every student musician the opportunity to be successful. MYS is one of the largest youth orchestra programs in the nation and one of only a handful offering a jazz program.

Lajos Balogh MYS Founder
Lajos Balogh, MYS Founder

The History of MYS

Metropolitan Youth Symphony was incorporated in 1975 with 16 string players, the group grew quickly to 35 members by their first performance later that year. MYS was founded by Maestro Lajos Balogh on the belief that the study of music is an integral part of a child becoming a well-rounded adult. Not only does music promote intellectual and aesthetic knowledge, it also builds leadership skills and creates a supportive, community environment.

Since its founding in response to the community’s need for musical enrichment, MYS has:

  • Contributed the musical development of over ten thousand musicians
  • Performed hundreds of youth concerts all over the northwest
  • Performed outreach concerts to thousands of students in under-served schools
  • Embarked on tours around the world
  • Awarded tuition assistance to every young musician in need
  • Developed volunteer support that incorporates more than 100 people in many different capacities