Brian Zhao: winner of the 2014 Richard Giangiulio Artist Development Scholarship

The Richard Giangiulio Artist Development Scholarship provides support for a current GDYO ensemble member to attend a summer music camp or festival.  Participation in summer enrichment is very rewarding for motivated musicians. Applications are required with a deadline in February.  Applications are considered without knowledge of the student’s name.  An essay, written by the student, as well as letters of recommendation from music teachers, private teachers, and Maestro Giangiulio, are a part of the application package.

The award is based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated Passion, Participation, and Dedication for Music
  • Ability/Musicianship
  • Goals
  • Leadership
  • Recommendations

This year's recipient is GDYO cellist Brian Zhao.  Brian is currently an 11th grade student at Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas. Brian started his music studies with piano at the age of 7.  Two years later, he started learning cello. Since then, he has been studying cello with Mrs. Jungshin Lewis, the principal cellist of the Richardson Symphony Orchestra. With extraordinary passion, dazzling performance and uncommon sensibility, in just a few years, he has won grand prizes in various competitions including the Fort Worth Symphony’s Young Artist Competition, Dallas Symphonic Festival Senior String Concerto Competition, Collin County Young Artist Competition, Vernell Gregg Young Artist Competition, and the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition.


GDYO launches Jazz Institute

The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra is proud and excited to introduce its newest offering, the GDYO Jazz Institute. The GDYO is well known for its dedication to excellence in music education and performance. The GDYO Jazz Institute will be an extension of that excellence.
Few youth orchestras in the country have established jazz programs as a part of their instrumental and orchestral programs. Fewer still have pursued combo-based programs rather than jazz orchestras or big bands. GDYO's Jazz Institute will provide young musicians in the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex the opportunity to learn what it means to be a jazz musician, the chance to build their skills on their instrument and the experience of working with other like-minded young people. Designed to serve 50+ high-school students, this program will offer the following:

  • Technique classes
  • Combo rehearsals
  • Instruction by professional jazz musicians and educators
  • Jam sessions in area jazz venues
  • Interaction with top jazz professionals in master classes
  • Scheduled performance opportunities

The program will include instruction in instrumental techniques, improvisation, music theory, music history, composition, musician etiquette and how to function in the music business. The focus of the program is excellence in jazz music education and performance.

GDYO is a tuition-based program. Scholarship assistance is available, so that no qualified musician will be turned away because of financial need. Tuition for the GDYO Jazz Institute is $500 per year.

How is the program structured?

There are three levels (Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced) with three combo groups in each level (nine combos total). A Jazz combo group includes a rhythm section (piano, drums, bass, guitar) with two-four "horns".  Students will be involved in a one-hour techniques class specific to their instrument, followed by a one-hour combo rehearsal. Weekly classes take place at the First United Methodist Church in Denton, beginning in September and continuing through May. There will be three jazz concerts and one-two "jam sessions" in established jazz venues.

When are auditions?

Interested musicians can apply immediately at; auditions will take place in August. There is a $25 non-refundable application fee for those who apply by June 1. After the June 1, the application fee will be $35. Upon completion of the application, musicians will receive detailed information about auditions, including important excerpts to prepare. Excerpts will not be available until the candidate's application is received and approved.

Why jazz?  Why now?

For many years, GDYO has considered adding a jazz component to its highly regarded program of orchestra and wind symphony training. To research and prepare for this new program, GDYO called on its existing connections to the strong jazz community in and around Dallas, including the Sammons Center for the Arts (GDYO's "home"), the University of North Texas and other community members. In all these conversations, the level of excitement and support for the establishment of this program has been extremely high.

More information can be found online at