Glendale Youth Orchestra
Founded in February 1989, the Glendale Youth Orchestra originally consisted of young musicians in the sixth through ninth grades only - an age range when children traditionally become busier with extracurricular activities and often begin to lose interest in studying music.
The Board of Directors expanded the age range in the orchestra's successive seasons, realizing the numerous benefits of a fuller and more formal orchestral ensemble. The GYO has since accepted high school and a limited number of junior college musicians.
Joseph Lazara, the founder and first president of GYO, is a long-time Glendale resident and practicing attorney in the city. It was his interest in providing musical and artistic opportunities for young people that led to the formation of the GYO.
Lois Johnson was our first musical director. The orchestra numbered at just under 50 young musicians. Richard Rintoul joined the orchestra as Music Director for its third season, as the group moved its performance home to Glendale Adventist Academy. During this season, 1991-1992, the GYO also performed its first collaborative concert with the Oakwood Collegiate Institute Orchestra of Toronto, Ontario Canada. The GYO also hosted the visiting young musicians in their homes during their visit to Southern California.
Christopher Fazzi served as GYO Music Director, beginning with the 1992-93 season and continuing through 1999-2000. Mr. Fazzi initiated a period of unprecedented growth for the orchestra, including launching an annual performance tour. GYO has performed and toured in Toronto, Canada, San Francisco, California, Phoenix, Arizona and had a chamber music retreat in Santa Barbara, California.
After six years of growth in stature and quality, Mr. Fazzi and the GYO were welcomed by the City of Glendale to the Alex Theatre as its permanent performance venue in 1995, thus bringing the GYO to the forefront of musical ensembles in Glendale.
Large enthusiastic audiences now fill the Alex Theatre three times a year to experience the musical excellence of the GYO. The GYO is a Premier L.A. Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, in the Youth Orchestra Mentorship Program (YOMP).
Current GYO Music Director Brad Keimach assumed the post with the 2000-01 season. Mr. Keimach is a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School and was a student of Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood. He has also served as Music Director of the Westfield Symphony, the Musica Viva Chamber Symphony and the West Orange Collegiate Orchestra, and has appeared as guest conductor with numerous orchestras. Mr. Keimach greatly enjoys teaching young dedicated musicians such as the members of the GYO, and continues his involvement with education, currently maintaining a private studio for conducting students. He has also served on the faculty at Antioch University, Kean College, and Purchase Conservatory at S.U.N.Y.