Queensland Youth Symphony (QYS)

The Queensland Youth Symphony is widely recognised as a world-class youth orchestra and is the leading ensemble of Queensland Youth Orchestras. The orchestra enhanced its reputation during the 2012 international tour to Asia and Europe, earning much praise from audience members and critics, and many standing ovations during the ten-concert tour.

QYS performs an annual concert series at the QPAC and Old Museum Concert Halls, and entertains audiences with music from the baroque to modern periods, with a focus on works from the late 19th and 20th centuries, and by contemporary Australian composers.

The main works in 2014 include Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, Holst’s The Planets, and Respighi’s Church Windows. Please find the 2014 program here


Conductor John Curro AM MBE

John Curro, QYO Queensland Youth Symphony (QYS)

John Curro AM MBE is both the founder and Director of Music for Queensland Youth Orchestras (QYO), conducting the Queensland Youth Symphony since its beginning in 1966. He is in demand as a conductor and tutor for professional and youth orchestras and festivals.

In 2012 Mr Curro conducted Havergal Brian’s Symphony No. 1, The Gothic, for the first ever performance in 30 years and the first performance outside the UK. Writing in the Havergal Brian Society Newsletter of December 2010, Malcolm Mc Donald wrote: “… it was as vivid and powerful a reading as the Gothic has yet received and perhaps the most accurate to date…”. With QYS, Mr Curro conducted the Resurrection Symphony by Gustav Mahler in a remarkable performance with Judith Henley (Soprano), Anne Fulton (Mezzo Soprano), the Queensland Conservatorium Chamber Choir and the Brisbane Chorale.

In 2009, he was conductor of the Bishop Orchestra at the Victorian State Music Camp and guest conductor at the Tasmanian Conservatorium and Brisbane Philharmonic (also in 2010 and 2011) orchestras. In 2012, he conducted the Queensland Youth Symphony during its 12th international tour with critically acclaimed concerts in Germany, Austraia, France, Singapore and Malaysia. 

Mr Curro has conducted many of Australia’s professional orchestras as well as many opera and ballet seasons in Australia. His guest conducting appearances include the London Virtuosi, the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Australian and Bavarian Youth Orchestra, the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

Throughout his distinguished career, Mr Curro has received many prestigious awards including Member of the Order of Australia and Member of the British Empire. He has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Queensland and Griffith University, Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellow award, the Australian Music Centre (Qld) Award, the Don Banks Music Award, the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award, the Orchestras Australia Lifetime Achievement award and the Queensland Premier’s Millenium Award for Excellence in the Arts.


QYO Queensland Youth Symphony (QYS)


QYS has performed throughout Australia and internationally during twelve overseas tours (Europe, USA, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand) to much critical acclaim.

The orchestra enhanced its reputation during the 2012 international tour to Asia and Europe, earning much praise from audience members and critics, and many standing ovations during the ten-concert tour. Concert destinations included Singapore, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Linz (Austria), Strasbourg (France), and German cities Worms, Frankenthal, Stuttgart, Ehingen and Bamberg. Read more about the tour here

QYS regularly hosts visiting international youth orchestras including, in 2012, the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, in 2010, the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, in 2009 the Albuquerque Youth Symphony from the US and the Ulm Youth Wind Philharmonic from Germany. In 2007 and 2008, QYO hosted orchestras from Germany (Mannheim and Stuttgart) and Macau.

Past QYS repertoire

In 2013, QYS performed

Colin Brumby Mediterranean Suite
Antonio Vivaldi Concerto for Two Trumpets (soloists John Coulton and Sarah Wilson)
Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 5
Wilfred Lehmann Moti Perpetuo
Benjamin Britten  War Requiem
Max Bruch   Kol Nidrei (soloist Ellen Harrison)
Serge Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet Suite No 2
Camille Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No. 3 (soloist Kentaro Koido)
Franz Joseph Haydn Cello Concerto in C major (soloist David Freisberg)
Carl Reinecke Flute Concerto  (soloist Brijette Tubb)
Pyotr Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 in B-flat minor (soloist Quang Hang Luu)
Camille Saint-Saens Havanaise (soloist Yebin Yoo)
Pyotr Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 


Watch the Queensland Youth Symphony conducted by John Curro play the 2nd movement of Mahler’s First Symphony:


I have been playing in QYO for about 10 years, starting in JSE when I was 8 years old. The experience and knowledge I have gained from these orchestras cannot be expressed in words. I strongly encourage everyone to audition for QYO. For me, joining QYO is one of the best decisions I made in my life.

Zoe, former QYS Concertmaster