GDYO History

In the summer of 1972, a group of devoted parents, who wanted to provide their children with additional musical opportunities, formed the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. 30 members made up the first ensemble.  Led by Yves L’helgoual’ch, rehearsals took place St. Mark’s School. Two concerts were performed that season, and the repertoire included: Overture to Iphigenia in Aulis by Gluck-Wagner, Valse Triste by Sibelius, Unfinished Symphony by Schubert, Trumpet Voluntary by Purcell-Clark, Marche Militaire Francaise by Saint-Saëns, Carmen Suite by Bizet and Firebird Suite by Stravinsky.

1974-1975 ~ The annual concerto competition begins (spring of 1975). Students compete for gold, silver and bronze medals and a chance to perform with the GDYO. Winners are Jim Thomas, clarinet and John Wheeler, piano. Judges are Pierette Mouledous and Harvey Boatright.

1975-1976 ~ Jerry Wertheimer Memorial award is created in honor of a GDYO student who was tragically killed.  First awardee is Betsy Lord, violinist and concertmistress. Wilfred Roberts and Richard Giangiulio are hired as sectional coaches for Woodwinds and Brass. The Orchestra staff is Joann Mintz.

1977-1978 ~ The first side-by-side concert with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra takes place. Coaching sessions with the DSO musicians begin.  GDYO begins to secure use of the SMU music department facilities. There are 55 members in the orchestra.

1978-1979 ~ Christian Tiemeyer (DSO associate conductor) is named conductor (he remains for one season). The GDYO performs their first concert series (four concerts). The ensemble had 80 members.

1979-1980 ~ Richard Giangiulio is named music director; he begins in the spring of 1980. A Dec 2 concert is conducted by Simon Sargon. 80 musicians make up the orchestra.

1980-1981 ~ Mischa Semanitsky is named principal guest conductor.  Membership is at 80 musicians from 36 schools.

1981-1982 ~ The GDYO and the Youth Orchestra of Fort Worth perform under the direction of Morton Gould at the American Symphony Orchestra League Conference.

1982-1983 ~ GDYO performs for the opening of the Majestic Theater.

1984-1985 ~ GDYO joins the Dallas Junior Honors Orchestra to form the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Association (GDYOA). Three orchestras are formed: Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, Richard Giangiulio, conductor; Dallas Junior Symphony, Michael Coren, conductor; Dallas String Ensemble (DSE), Franklin Washburn, conductor. Membership is now at 170 musicians from 68 schools. The first Gala Benefit is presented at the Majestic.  Christina Ortiz is the piano soloist and winner of the 1969 Van Cliburn. (first woman and at the time youngest to win).

1985 ~ GDYO sponsors a residency of the Mendelssohn String Quartet. The summer institute for strings begins; Michael Coren is named program director.

1986-1987 ~ The Young Performer Orchestra (a beginning level string ensemble) is formed; Marilyn D’Auteuil is conductor. GDYO makes its New York City debut in March at a ceremony honoring Ross Perot at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. This is the first performance by the GDYO outside of Texas. There are 83 members in the ensemble. There are 230 students in the program

1987-1988 ~ GDYO moves into the Sammons Center for the Arts. There is a showcase concert at the Majestic featuring almost 400 student musician—GDYO ensembles are joined by five Dallas Independent School District (DISD) choirs. Over 300 students audition in the fall, 240 are chosen for the four orchestras.

1988-1989 ~ Sinfonietta is formed.

1990-1991 ~ GDYO opens the season with a concert at the Meyerson Symphony Center. The organization has grown to 265 musicians. For the first time all ensembles perform in the Meyerson.

In the summer of 1994, GDYO embarks on its first international tour to France and Switzerland. They perform 7 concerts in two weeks, being joined on the tour by choirs and trumpeter, Guy Trouvron.

1995-1996 ~ Louise Rossi, Michael Coren and Rick Giangiulio are the Artistic Staff

In the summer of 1996, GDYO embarks on its second international tour to France.

1998-1999 ~ German Gutierrez is hired as the conductor for the Philharmonic. Valerie Hart is hired as the conductor for the YPO. Andrew Litton conducts the GDYO on the May concert.  In the summer of 1998, GDYO embarks on its third international tour—this time to England and Scotland.

1999-2000 ~ The Wind Symphony is formed. David Kehler is the Conductor. Summer of 2000, the GDYO participates in the National Youth Orchestra Festival. There are now over 350 kids in the program and 6 ensembles.

2000-2001 ~ GDYO performs as part of the Duncanville Regional Arts Association.  From the Top comes to the Sammons Center for the Arts. The Wind Symphony performs on the show.  (From the Top on NPR, hosted by Christopher O’Riley, is one of the most popular weekly music series on public radio and is heralded as “contemporary culture’s feel-good success story,” (San Francisco Chronicle). The show reaches more than 700,000 loyal listeners on over 200 stations each week.)  The Wind Symphony performs with the Irving Symphonic Band in February.  GDYO season consists of four concerts at the Meyerson along with a side-by-side with DSO, Deck the Halls, and a concert in Duncanville.  The younger ensembles and the Philharmoic and Wind Symphony perform at the Majestic.  In the summer of 2001, GDYO embarks on its fourth international tour—this time to East Germany and the Czech Republic.  Artistic staff: Rick Gianigiulio, David Kehler(WS); German Gutierrez (Philharmonic) in October James Frank would take over as conductor of Phil; Louise Rossi (DSE and Sinfonietta); Valerie Curry (YPO).

2001-2002 ~ 30th Season!  Wind Symphony begins a concerto competition.  Terrence Wilson, pianist, performs with GDYO on the October concert. The Grand Finale celebration concert features Cho-Liang Lin, violinist, and Ko Iwasaki, cellist.  The Philharmonic is joined by Plano Senior High School Choir in a performance of Faure’s Requiem. The Wind Symphony has a joint concert with UNT Symphonic Band.  GDYO performs at the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras.  Wind Symphony performs at the Texas Band Masters Association convention in San Antonio (July).

2002-2003 ~ Alessio Bax, pianist opens the season with the GDYO in October. The Grand Finale will feature Mary Preston on the organ.  Andrew Litton guest conducts on the February concert.  Members of the Wind Symphony perform with the Dallas Wind Symphony. The Wind Symphony also performs with the TCU Wind Ensemble.

2003-2004 ~ Wind Symphony performs a side-by-side with the Dallas Wind Symphony.  David Dzubay, guest composer, conducts his piece on the GDYO October concert. The orchestra performs with the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas on the Holiday Magic concert. Maria Schleuning performs as guest soloist on the Grand Finale. Summer of 2004 – fifth international tour to Germany, Poland and Czech Republic

2004-2005 ~ GDYO opens the season with Nathaniel Rosen on cello.  Elizabeth McGuire is the orchestra manager. Mary Havenstrite is the conductor for the Dallas String Ensemble and Ruth Kurtis is conducting the Sinfonietta. It is the 25th anniversary of Richard Giangiulio conducting the GDYO.

2005-2006 ~ The opening GDYO concert includes Robert Xavier Rodriguez as guest conductor and Donnie Ray Albert, baritone. Alum Jun Iwasaki returns to perform on the May concert.  Susan Younghans joins the artistic staff as conductor of the YPO.  The GDYO performs a concert as part of Highland Park United Methodist Church series.  The Wind Symphony participates in an exchange with the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony.

2006-2007 ~ Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung join GDYO on the season finale in May.  Summer of 2007 – sixth international tour to China.  In December, Stuart Womble becomes Assistant Orchestra Manager.  The Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony visits Texas for a joint concert with the Wind Symphony.

2007-2008 ~ David Bilger, Principal Trumpet with the Philadelphia Orchestra, opens the season with GDYO.  Gustavo Romero, pianist, ends the season with GDYO.   Winter, 2008, Tonya Assid is the Operations Manager.  Philharmonic goes to Austin for a joint concert with the Austin Youth Orchestra.  In the summer of 2008, Wind Symphony embarks on its first international tour to China

2008-2009 ~ The GDYO season opener features Bradley Welch on organ.  Eric Barr, oboist, solos with GDYO in May.  Flute Choir is added to the organization’s offerings.  Mary Shinn and Priscilla Holt are the conductors.

2009-2010 ~ Dr. Nick Williams is conductor for the Wind Symphony.  Flute Choir performs for the National Flute Convention in Anaheim, CA.

2010-2011 ~ 39th Season…Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra now has seven ensembles and over 400 young musicians in the program, six conductors, and three full-time & 1 part-time administrative staff.  The opening concert for the GDYO features Ron Snider performing on the Cimbalom.  GDYO performs a holiday concert in Terrell, TX as part of an outreach program.  The Wind Symphony performs with the UNT Symphonic Band.

2011-2012 ~ 40th Season!  All seven ensembles perform on a special season opener in October as well as a special commissioned work, composed by Mary Alice Rich, which features all 440 musicians.  GDYO embarked of its seventh international tour to Germany, and the Czech Republic.

2012-2013 ~ GDYO welcomes DSO Co-Concertmaster Nathan Olson on the Season Opener. A joint performance with the DSO is recorded in the Meyerson for From the Top. In the summer, Wind Symphony performs by invitation for the Texas Bandmasters Assocaiton Convention in San Antonio, TX.  Flute Choir performs at the National Flute Association Convention in New Orleans, LA.

2013-2014 ~ The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra and the GDYO Wind Symphony perform a shared concert for the first time in the organization’s history.  Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra musicians perform a piece side by side with the DSO for the DSO Family Concert Series.

Conductors include: Richard Giangiulio (GDYO), James Frank (Philharmonic, Sinfonietta), Susan Younghans (Dallas String Ensemble, Young Performers Orchestra), Nicholas Williams (Wind Symphony), Priscilla Holt (Flute Choir).  Charles Moore is Executive Director, Yurie Iwasaki is General Manager/Librian, Patrick Herring is Operations Manager, Barry Oosterwaal is Jazz Institute Manager, and Amber Oosterwaal is Director of Development and Marketing.

2014-2015 ~ GDYO launches the GDYO Jazz Insitute.  More to come…