The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO) is recognized internationally as one of the finest youth orchestras in the world. Founded by the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in 1981, the SFSYO’s musicians are chosen from more than 300 applicants in annual auditions. The SFSYO’s purpose is to provide an orchestral experience of pre-professional caliber, tuition-free, to talented young musicians from the greater Bay Area. SFSYO members have the opportunity to work with many of the world-renowned artists who perform with the SFS. SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, SFS Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt, Sir Simon Rattle, Kurt Masur, Valery Gergiev, Leonard Slatkin, Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Midori, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Sarah Chang, and many others have worked with the SFSYO.
Askonas Holt was delighted to arrange the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra's 2008 summer European tour, with then Music Director, Benjamin Shwartz, and soloist Julian Rachlin. The tour included the SFSYO's debut concerts in prestigious halls such as the Philharmonie am Gasteig in Munich, the Smetana Hall in Prague and the Philharmonie in Berlin. In 2012, the SFSYO returned to Europe with Music Director Donato Cabrera and soloist Lars Vogt, for return visits to Munich and Berlin alongside concerts in Luxembourg and Salzburg. This summer, the Orchestra embarks on its 2015 European tour, which will take them once again to the Philharmonie, Berlin and the Smetana Hall in Prague, as well as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Sala Verdi, Milan, with Music Director Donato Cabrera and soloists Sergey Khachatryan and Renaud Capuçon.