Youth orchestra with their conductor Christan Reif stood in a group smiling at the camera

San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra


The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO) has earned a reputation as one of the finest youth ensembles in the world. Founded in 1981 to provide pre-professional training to the Bay Area’s most gifted young musicians at no cost, the orchestra has toured Europe and Asia to rave reviews, winning the prestigious City of Vienna Prize at the International Youth and Music Festival in 1986 and performing to packed houses in the great halls of Europe, from Berlin’s Philharmonie to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw to the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. It has played for Queen Elizabeth II of England and been featured on BBC radio.

The young musicians get the invaluable experience of working and talking with many of the renowned artists and conductors who perform with the San Francisco Symphony, among them Yo-Yo Ma, Sir Simon Rattle, John Adams, Emanuel Ax, Ray Chen, Wynton Marsalis, and Midori. The San Francisco Symphony’s Music Director Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas also frequently coached and worked with the young musicians. Today, the orchestra features 108 musicians, chosen from more than 300 applicants per season.

Askonas Holt has worked with the SFSYO since 2008, arranging summer European tours to some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls such as the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Smetana Hall, Prague, and the Philharmonie, Berlin. Most recently, Askonas Holt has enjoyed touring with the orchestra throughout Europe in 2015 and 2019.


  • Jun 2019 - Jun 2019

    Christian Reif (conductor) Nicola Benedetti (violin) San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Odense Koncerthus, Odense | Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen [Tivoli Summer Classic] | Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg | Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin | Musikverein, Vienna | Margaret Island Open-Air Stage, Budapest [Budapest Summer Festival] | Programme: Mahler Symphony No.1 | Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto | Glanert 'Prelude No.1' from Three American Preludes

  • Jun 2015 - Jun 2015

    Askonas Holt was delighted to be managing the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra‘s 2015 summer tour of Europe. Widely recognised as one the finest youth orchestras in the world, the SFSYO performed six concerts at world class venues, including the Berlin Philharmonie and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, with their Music Director Donato Cabrera. Donato Cabrera (conductor) Sergey Khachatryan (violin) Renaud Capuçon (violin)


Christian Reif conducting the orchestra on stage
Orchestra playing on stage