Our goal is to provide youth in the Ottawa region with a continuum of high-quality orchestral and ensemble training and performance opportunities at an affordable cost in a supportive musical environment.
The Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy (OYOA) is a registered non-profit, charitable organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors, committed parents and individuals. Our conductors, coaches and teachers are some of Ottawa’s leading professional musicians.
OYOA students are inspired, encouraged and challenged to build their musical skills and talents through creative learning environments and rewarding performance opportunities…
. Peer Support
. Skills achievement
. Artistic development
. Performance experience
The Academy comprises two full orchestras, eight instrumental ensembles for strings, winds, brass and harp, a beginner’s and pre-school program, and instruction in music theory and history through Grade 3 in the RCM Syllabus. Over the past years, these programs have shown increasing enrollment, reaching over 300 students. Furthermore, members of our Ottawa Youth Orchestra regularly qualify for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.
History in Brief
The first Ottawa Youth Orchestra was established in 1960, a time of rapid growth in the youth orchestra movement internationally. The OYO operated successfully until the late 1970s when it began to experience difficulties in finding enough string players. It performed its last concert in 1980. [History of the Original OYO]
The lack of ensemble training opportunities for young string players in the region did not go unnoticed.
In 1982, John Gomez and colleagues from the National Arts Center Orchestra founded the National Capital String Academy to address this need. The National Capital Wind Academy was formed in 1985 to provide similar opportunities to wind and brass players. The two groups merged in 1986 as the National Capital Strings and Wind Academy, and re-established the Ottawa Youth Orchestra which had been dormant for six years.
The organization was incorporated as the National Capital Music Academy in 1988, and has gradually broadened its program over the years to become one of the most comprehensive of its kind in Canada.
As it entered its twenty-first year of operation under founding Music Director John Gomez, the National Capital Music Academy changed its corporate name to the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy (OYOA). The new name better reflects our goal to provide young people with orchestral training opportunities while also honouring our origins, which go back 50 years.