The El Camino Youth Symphony (ECYS) is from Palo Alto, California, the home of Stanford University, about 35 miles south of San Francisco. Its name comes from the Spanish words El Camino Real, the royal highway created along the Pacific Ocean by the early Spanish explorers and missionaries.
Two core principles underlie the ECYS mission: Music Education, to nurture, train and develop young musicians from culturally diverse backgrounds and encourage a lasting appreciation of music, and Musical Excellence, to provide high-quality performance opportunities for young people and outstanding musical events for the wider community.
ECYS is distinguished by its unusually large and diverse number of ensembles, a creative structure that enables ECYS teachers to offer an enriching musical education to the widest possible range of youth. The young musicians of ECYS are culturally diverse and range from those at the beginning of their musical training to those ready to establish their creative careers as performing artists. All receive high-quality learning, performance and leadership opportunities.
More than 400 K-12 students from over 100 schools from San Francisco to Santa Cruz train and perform in five orchestras and two ensembles, led by the award-winning, internationally recognized Symphony Orchestra. Concerts, tours, retreats, summer workshops, masterclasses and music festivals form a vital part of the ECYS experience, creating opportunities for youth at all levels of musical experience to develop socially and artistically while participating in the Bay Area's foremost instrumental training and education program.
A vibrant repertoire challenges the young musicians to excel as ensemble and solo players. Annual performance series and tours meet critical acclaim and inspire local, national and international audiences. An ongoing program of performance and ticket outreach makes these programs accessible to a diverse community of underserved youth, families and seniors.
An internationally recognized artistic faculty supports the young musicians, who also have opportunities to perform in collaboration with soloists of international stature. ECYS musicians receive mentoring and coaching from a distinguished roster of professional musicians and conductors dedicated to opening the world of orchestral music to the next generation.
Each season more than twenty outstanding student concerto competition participants are awarded performances with ECYS orchestras.
ECYS offers scholarships to students who demonstrate financial need. In addition, the different ensembles participate in various outreach and educational programs designed to bring music to the community.