Symphony Nova Scotia to take over management of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra

Halifax, NS – After months of careful research, discussion, and planning, Symphony Nova Scotia is proud to announce that it will assume the management, governance, and operations of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra this fall.

The Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra (NSYO) has provided a comprehensive, high-level orchestral experience for talented young Nova Scotians for over 40 years. By coming under the direction of Symphony Nova Scotia, the NSYO follows the successful mentorship model of many top youth orchestras across North America, providing young musicians with increased opportunities for networking, volunteering, and hands-on learning.

The transfer also provides valuable opportunities for Symphony Nova Scotia. The orchestra is deeply committed to providing high-quality, interactive education and community outreach across Nova Scotia, and previously lacked meaningful opportunities for high-level young musicians. Symphony Nova Scotia will also benefit by increased engagement with local schools, universities, and enthusiastic young talent who will become the professional musicians of the future.

“The Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra has been an important musical presence in our community for the past forty years,” says Chris Wilkinson, CEO of Symphony Nova Scotia.

“Our orchestras have a long history of working closely together, and some of our musicians are NSYO alumni. Symphony Nova Scotia is honoured to take this next step with our partners at the NSYO, and we’re committed to ensuring that the NSYO remains a unique, welcoming, and life-enriching experience for Nova Scotia’s young musicians.”

Discussions surrounding the transfer have been ongoing since early 2018, following an internal review by the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra Board of Directors. As a result, the Board Executive and Music Director approached Symphony Nova Scotia with a proposal, which was followed by a thorough research report from local arts specialist Barbara Richman. Research included discussions with representatives and staff from both orchestras, members of the Halifax music community, individuals with particular skills in youth engagement, and peer organizations that also serve talented youth.

“We believe that this is an exciting and welcome opportunity for the NSYO, and our many exceptional young musicians,” says Bob Bjerke, Chair of the NSYO Board of Directors.

“The NSYO has been a successful independent organization, with a history of artistic integrity, financial stability, and musician and alumni achievement. However, we believe that the added resources and profile Symphony Nova Scotia can offer will ensure the NSYO’s sustainability and continued success well into the future.”

Building on its strong local history and reputation, the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra will maintain its current name, roster of musicians, and office space at Halifax’s First Baptist Church. The NSYO’s current Music Director, Dinuk Wijeratne, will also continue in his role through to the end of the 2018/19 season, after which he is planning to focus on artistic projects in Toronto full-time. Symphony Nova Scotia will begin the search for a new NSYO Music Director.

After the recent departure of the NSYO’s previous General Manager, day-to-day management of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra will be led by percussionist and educator D’Arcy Gray, who currently serves as Symphony Nova Scotia’s Education and Community Outreach Manager. Symphony Nova Scotia has also committed to keeping the NSYO’s only other employee on staff in an unchanged role.

Plans to proceed with the transition were finalized on Sunday, September 16, at a meeting of Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra Society members. Over the coming months, the NSYO Society will dissolve, and transfer its assets to Symphony Nova Scotia’s management and stewardship. Symphony Nova Scotia has committed to ensuring that the NSYO’s assets are directed toward Youth Orchestra activities, and several members of the NSYO’s current Board of Directors will remain engaged in a new, youth-focused Advisory Board, also consisting of musicians, staff, and volunteers.

The NSYO will continue with five planned performances throughout its 2018/19 season, including concerts in Halifax, Lunenburg, and Truro. To learn more, visit

About Symphony Nova Scotia
Symphony Nova Scotia is Nova Scotia’s orchestra. With a home base in Halifax and performances across the province, Symphony Nova Scotia reaches more than 50,000 Nova Scotians of all ages each year with a diverse mix of concerts, free community programs, and educational outreach. It is the largest employer in Nova Scotia’s cultural community, and has won many awards, including five East Coast Music Awards for classical music. Visit to learn more, listen online, or get tickets today!