Queensland Youth Symphony (QYS)

2016 rehearsals begin on Saturday 30 January.

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.

During 2015, QYS performed Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra, Vaughan Williams London Symphony, Stravinsky’s The Firebird, Heinz Storrle Concerto for Brass Quintet and Orchestra, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Larry Sitsky’s Apparitions. Soloists included the Best of Brass, Tony Lee and the QYS French Horn players. QYS also performed a World Premiere by composer Allan Zavod.

In 2016, QYS looks forward to performing Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 “Organ”, Shostakovich Symphony No. 6 and Berlioz’s Te Deum. Soloists will include QYO alumnus Paul Dean performing Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto, QYS alumnus Dene Olding performing Barber’s Violin Concerto, and QYS alumnus Stephen Emerson performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24. To conclude a massive year of celebrations, we will present a 140-member QYO Alumni Orchestra, performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and Mozart’s Oboe Concerto featuring soloist Diana Doherty.

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 Gothichas yet received and perhaps the most accurate to date…”. With QYS, Mr Curro conducted the ResurrectionSymphony 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.

Watch QYS perform Saint-Saens Organ Symphony at the 2011 QYO Finale Concert:



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 2015, QYS performed

Alfred Hill Viola Concerto
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2
Bernstein  Overture to Candide
Dvorak Violin Concerto in A minor
Lalo Symphonie Espagnole
Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra
Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A major
Mozart Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major
Schumann Konzertstuck for 4 Horns and Orchestra
Sibelius Violin Concerto in D major
Sitsky Apparitions
Storrle Concerto for Brass Quintet and Orchestra
R. Strauss Death and Transfiguration
Stravinsky The Firebird 


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