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Thirty years ago...

PYPO was established as the first youth pops orchestra in the United States.

The Pittsburgh Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (PYPO) was founded by Dr. Roger Tabler in 1993 as the country’s first youth pops orchestra.  Now in its thirtieth season, PYPO is an organization whose mission is to educate, inspire and foster a life-long love of music.  Young musicians in the first through the twelfth grades comprise PYPO’s main ensembles:  Overture Strings (developing strings), Overture Band (developing woodwind, brass, percussion), Prelude Strings (intermediate strings), Prelude Band (intermediate woodwinds, brass, percussion) and Philharmonic Orchestra (advanced).  

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PYPO serves over 500 students annually through its five main ensembles, summer camps, PYPO Festivals and tours.  The students who comprise PYPO’s five main ensembles are drawn from over 36 school districts and numerous private schools throughout the Tri-State area.  PYPO is also known for being the largest youth orchestra in the Pittsburgh area.  Many local music educators and musicians send their own children to study in PYPO’s ensembles.

PYPO musicians significantly improve their individual performance as well as ensemble skills, while developing discipline and leadership skills that carry into school, community and overall life experiences

Each season, PYPO typically presents:

  • Three major performances

  • Community outreach concerts

  • Summer camps

  • Chamber ensembles

  • Elementary and middle school band and string festivals

  • Annual Concerto Competition

  • Student Conductor Competition.

Even through the COVID-19 pandemic, PYPO was committed to making live, in-person music with our students.  One of the only youth orchestras in the area to do so, PYPO rehearsed in chamber ensembles that met the state regulations of gathering size while socially distancing and following all other precautions to keep our students and staff safe.  Many students and families shared that PYPO was the only thing that felt "normal" during that time.  

In past seasons, PYPO has performed at PNC Park, PPG Wintergarden, Soldiers and Sailors Hall, Carnegie Music Hall, Hillman Center for the Performing Arts, CAPA, and many other venues through the Pittsburgh area.  PYPO has also had a feature presentation broadcast on Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). 


In addition to local concerts, PYPO has performed six concert tours throughout twelve countries:  Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, France, Italy, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Ireland. PYPO will embark on its seventh international tour in 2026.  

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