The Oregon Coast Youth Symphony Festival is an outgrowth of ideas that formed in the Newport Symphony’s board and the Festival’s artistic leadership comes from Music Director Adam Flatt, who has extensive experience leading youth musicians at the highest level. Established in 2016, the Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is listed with the Oregon Cultural Trust.
The Festival’s leadership is made up of current and former Newport Symphony Orchestra board members and volunteers committed to creating a unique music education opportunity for members of Oregon’s high school orchestras. Founding board members included David Ogden Stiers, Mark McConnell, Michael Dalton, Jim Bob Myers, Jane Turville, and Ian Dalton.
The organization presents three major events each year:
- A four-day April Festival for high school orchestras,
- A Winter Chamber Music Concert Series with high school students and professional musicians playing side-by-side, and
- A Composers’ Symposium for high school students.
The annual four-day Festival for six high school orchestras was held in April 2017, 2018, and 2019. The Festival was not held in April 2020 due to the COVID virus outbreak. During the 2018-19 school year, the board launched phase II, a Winter Concert Series, featuring high school quartets and professional quartets playing side-by-side. The board launched phase III, a high school students’ Composers’ Symposium, in the 2019-20 school year. The Festival is building a unique and comprehensive high school orchestra community for students and music programs statewide and adds to Newport’s reputation as an arts destination.
We do not want any student or any school to feel they cannot participate in the Festival’s activities if they can’t raise sufficient funds. The high school orchestras only pay their bus transportation to and from Newport.
The Festival has established and is building a high school orchestra community based in Newport, centered on young musicians, artistic exploration and collaborative performance that lead to recognition of the power of music throughout one’s life. While there are regional and state orchestra competitions, the Festival’s non-competitive activities for high school orchestras, small ensembles, and emerging high school composers is unique.