Here Plays the Future

Join AYO

Applications are now open for the 2016 Season

Make sure you audition on Saturday 5 December to secure your place in New Zealand's premier regional youth orchestra. If you know you can't make it on that day, recorded auditions will be accepted - just make sure we receive it by 5 December.

Join Now   View 2016 Schedule   Excerpts   Enquiries

Highlights of the 2016 season include: Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition, Ravel Bolero, Sibelius Symphony No. 2, Smetana Moldau, and Tchaikovsky Nutcracker.

About AYO

Patron - Dame Catherine Tizard • President - Michael McLellan • Music Director - Antun Poljanich

We inspire young people to excel through their love of musical performance and provide them with a wide range of cultural experiences, thus shaping our leaders of tomorrow.

Played to
people last year
concerts this year
musicians have
played in AYO

Founded in 1948, Auckland Youth Orchestra is the premier regional youth orchestra in New Zealand and was the first youth orchestra established in the Southern Hemisphere, designed to bridge the gap between school orchestras and adult professional groups. The role of AYO is not just to perform concerts but to train future musicians to feed into our national ensembles and orchestras. We also play an important audience development role as our members are likely to be future audience members and supporters of the arts. AYO is a healthy social experience for young people and makes an important contribution to the cultural life of Auckland and New Zealand. No other orchestral organisation or institution in New Zealand provides such a comprehensive programme to musicians up to the age of 28.

International and local tours

The orchestra regularly presents concerts in centres throughout New Zealand and has toured to Australia, New Caledonia, North America, and Europe. In August 2011, AYO travelled to Europe, being the first ensemble from New Zealand invited to perform at the renowned Young Euro Classic Festival in Berlin, Germany. In 2013, the orchestra toured the length of the South Island with concerts in Dunedin, Gore, Te Anau, Wanaka, Westport, and Nelson.

We perform twelve excellent but affordable and accessible concerts annually across the greater Auckland metropolitan area, nationally and abroad, attracting audiences with diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and of all ages.

AYO Soloist Competition

The orchestra also showcases young soloists and composers. The AYO Soloist Competition offers existing orchestra members the chance to compete for a concerto appearance with the orchestra. The orchestra accompanied Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in her youth, and more recently John Chen and Amitai Pati (Sol3Mio and Lexus Song Quest winner, 2012). There are also generous monetary prizes as first prize attracts $2,500, with another $2,500 for other categories.


Lodge of the Liberal Arts Young Musicians' Scholarships
The Freemasons of Lodge No. 500 have established a trust for charitable purposes, one of which is to assist young musicians in their education. Two scholarships of $1,500 will be granted this year, to members of AYO who have shown outstanding musicianship and/or overall contribution to the orchestra - playing and otherwise.

Chip and Muriel Stevens Award
This is an award dedicated to the memory of the orchestra's former President, N.W. (Chip) Stevens, who spent his lifetime encouraging young people to love music and young musicians to reach their full potential. The winner of this scholarship will be announced at the final concert each year. It is awarded to the player(s) who make the greatest overall contribution to the orchestra during the year, by showing their love of music and sharing it with others.


Many AYO alumni can be found in leading orchestras and ensembles around the world, teaching in conservatories, or performing as soloists and conductors. The co-operative structure of the orchestra provides members with organisational and team building skills, engendering dedication, confidence, and self-esteem within a positive peer environment. In today's world, this healthy social experience equips our players with skills and a sense of achievement that will support them in whatever career path they choose. Indeed, many of our alumni are also found in business, politics, and other professions.

To register as a member of AYO Alumni click here.

2015 Season

Midsummer Dreams

February - March 2015
Whitianga, Waiheke, Devonport, Remuera

Gareth Farr, Little Sea Gongs for percussion ensemble
Giovanni Gabrieli, Canzon Primi Toni for brass ensemble
John Cage, Dream for 5 violas
Alex Cowdell, Canzona for string orchestra
Joseph Haydn, Symphony No. 100
Heinrich Biber, Battalia a 10 for string ensemble
Engelbert Humperdinck, Abendsegen and Traumpantomime

New World

March - May 2015
Howick, Whangarei, Whangaparaoa, Auckland

Alexander Borodin, Polovtsian Dances
Dmitri Shostakovich, Cello Concerto No. 1 (Jacky Siu, soloist)
Antonín Dvořák, Symphony No. 9 in E minor


August - October 2015
Taupo, Tauranga, Massey, Auckland

Dmitry Kabalevsky, Comedians Suite
Felix Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1 (Maria Mo, soloist)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 6 in B minor

Support AYO

We are grateful for the support of our major supporters and for the generosity of others. Every donation, however small, is appreciated and helpful. The easiest way for you to donate is probably through Givealittle, which is commission-free and automatically emails you a tax receipt. However you may also donate directly to our bank account or use PayPal (although the latter charges us a commission). Auckland Youth Orchestra (Inc.) is a registered charity, CC45382, and is an IRD-approved Donee Organisation.

Bank Account
Email our treasurer for your tax receipt
Please keep in touch with us so that you never miss out on one of the amazing concerts AYO produces every year.
  • The Wallace Foundation
  • Foundation North
  • Auckland Council
  • Auckland Live
  • Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Lodge of the Liberal Arts - Freemasons NZ
  • Pub Charity
  • Creative Communities