About the Philharmonic Association

Our History

In early 1988, thirty-five high school age musicians from around North Carolina’s Triangle area decided to form a Symphony Orchestra. They invited Hugh Partridge, Principal Violist of the North Carolina Symphony, to be their conductor and to help them organize their orchestra. Their first concert as the Triangle Youth Philharmonic (TYP) was performed on May 22, 1988. It was a grand success and the musicians and their parents quickly formed the Philharmonic Association, Inc. (PA) to sponsor the goals of the young musicians. TYP rapidly grew to a full symphony orchestra.

 Panoramic photo from 2009 Inaugural Gala event (TYP shown right).

Panoramic photo from 2005 Inaugural Gala event (TYP shown right).

Today, the Philharmonic Association has grown to a multi-level youth music education organization currently sponsoring six orchestras, four jazz ensembles, and three chamber groups that serve over five hundred musicians through year-round programming. Our organization seeks to provide both beginning ensemble training in supportive non-competitive environments, as well as top-level groups that inspire serious young musicians selected through a rigorous audition process. The PA has expanded in response to community need, having added groups to accommodate the abundance of musicians wishing to participate, to supplement offerings in local schools, and to increase diversity in our membership.

The Triangle Youth Philharmonic (TYP) is our most advanced orchestra and performs full-length concerts of professional level repertoire. Since its inception in 1988 the level of musicianship and skill has risen as we have added tiers of programming with the full orchestras Triangle Youth Symphony (formed in 1995) and Triangle Youth Orchestra (2000), and the string orchestras Triangle Youth String Orchestra (2009) and Triangle Youth String Sinfonia (2012).

The PA jazz program began in 2005 by request of the musicians participating in an invitational group formed to perform for that year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in Raleigh. The PA changed our mission and bylaws to include jazz and the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble was formed. For three consecutive years they have been selected as finalists in the Jazz At Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington competition and received a Silver Medal in 2016. Similar to our orchestral program, we now offer a non-auditioned introductory group called Triangle Youth Jazz Lab (since 2013), and two additional tiers of auditioned ensembles called Triangle Youth Jazz Band (2012) and Triangle Youth Jazz Orchestra (2015).

Commenting on a special event from our 2008-09 season, John W. Lambert wrote in Classical Voice of North Carolina:

“The TYP has played at such high levels for so long it should come as no surprise that it has been selected to perform for the January 15 second inauguration of Governor Easley. Bravo to our fine young players, who represent our best hopes for the future!”

NC Symphony Affiliation

Over our history, the PA has enjoyed the support of the North Carolina Symphony’s artistic staff. Our young musicians of the PA have been privileged to perform under the direction of many of the conductors of the North Carolina Symphony.

Performances: 1990s

In 1993, TYP performed Wagner’s Rienzi Overture under the direction of North Carolina Symphony Artistic Director, Gerhardt Zimmermann. TYP performed on a North Carolina Symphony Young People’s Concert directed by Jackson Parkhurst in 1994 and was conducted by Michael Jimbo, North Carolina Symphony Assistant Conductor, in the finale of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8. North Carolina Symphony Associate Conductor, William Henry Curry, led TYP in the North Carolina Premier of his composition Eulogy in 1997.

Coaching & Adjudication

Since 1988, young musicians of the PA have had the annual opportunity to work with numerous members of the Symphony as coaches and adjudicators. The North Carolina Symphony began funding the 21 coaches used for sectional rehearsals for our three orchestras in the spring of 2008. With these close ties it naturally followed that in 1993 our Triangle Youth Philharmonic became the official youth orchestra of the North Carolina Symphony.

Performances: 2000s

NC Symphony Music Director, Grant Llewellyn, conducts TYP in 2008.

In 2000, Mr. Curry again led TYP in Still’s Fanfare for American Heroes and provided the narration for Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait. That same year, Maestro Zimmermann conducted TYS in a performance of Sibelius’ Finlandia. In 2006, TYP performed Elgar’s Enigma Variations with the North Carolina Symphony’s Music Director, Grant Llewellyn. Maestro Llewellyn returned in 2008 to conduct Vaughan Williams A London Symphony. NCS Assistant Conductor, Joan Landry, conducted TYS in the finale of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony in Spring of 2009.


Over the years, musicians in PA orchestras have been enriched by the collaboration with other arts and community organizations.

Members of TYS and TYP perform A Lincoln Portrait by Copland with the Kingston Upon Hull Youth Orchestra, Hull UK, 2000.

Members of TYS and TYP perform A Lincoln Portrait by Copland with the Kingston Upon Hull Youth Orchestra, Hull UK, 2000.

From 1993 – 1998, TYP performed an annual North Carolina Bach Festival concert. Two of these concerts were in combination with The Raleigh Boychoir.

In 1996, 1997, and 1999 the PA joined forces with the Town of Cary and presented innovative children’s concerts in which members of the audience could sit within the orchestra. The PA also provided music for the ground breaking of the Town’s facility for the NCSO at Regency Park.

Perhaps the most memorable collaboration has been through Sister Cities of Raleigh. In 1994, the PA hosted The City of Hull Youth Symphony Orchestra (Raleigh’s Sister City in the UK) in a combined concert in Memorial Auditorium.

In 1995 and 2000, members of the Triangle Youth Philharmonic and Triangle Youth Symphony traveled to the UK and represented Raleigh in joint concerts in Hull (shown left). The 2000 trip followed the footsteps of Felix Mendelssohn and included visits to Edinburg, Loch Lomond, and Fingals Cave.

Martin Luther King All-Children's Choir in concert with TYP, 2003.

Martin Luther King All-Children’s Choir in concert with TYP, 2003.

In 1996 and 1998, TYP represented the Triangle on two invitational concerts for the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC.

TYP performed concerts with the Martin Luther King All-Children’s Choir as part of the 2003 and 2004 celebrations honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (shown left). TYJE has continued this tradition, performing on this concert in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

TYP performs Lady Kate with the Raleigh Dance Theatre, 2004.

TYP performs Lady Kate with the Raleigh Dance Theatre, 2004.

In 2004, Carolina Ballet Principal Conductor, Alfred E. Sturgis, led TYP in two performances of Robert Ward’s Lady Kate danced by the Raleigh Dance Theatre (shown left).

TYP was honored to be the orchestra performing for the Inaugural Gala of Governor Michael Easley in 2005 and again for his second Inaugural Gala in 2009.

The Cary High School Concert Chorus, directed by Edward Yasick, appeared on the TYS Fall Concert in 2008.

In February 2009, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, City of Raleigh Arts Commission, and United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, members of TYP joined forces with Enloe Chamber Choir and Raleigh Dance Theatre in a memorable performance of Telemann’s opera Don Quixote at the Wedding of Comacho.

In the spring of 2010, the Capital City Girls Choir Cantabile Singers, directed by Dr. Fran Page, sang with TYP in Holst’s “Neptune” from The Planets.

TYP has collaborated on several occasions with the International Ballet Company of Cary. In 2011 and 2012, excerpts from The Nutcracker were performed by their lead dancers for the PA’s Holiday Concert. In 2012, two performances of “Summer” and “Autumn” from Glazunov’s The Seasons were given in the Cary Arts Center Theatre.


The Philharmonic Association was presented with the 2011 Business Support of the Arts Award in the Arts Education category by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County. We were cited for “extraordinary commitment to improving education through the arts since 1988.” Thanks to numerous positive reviews written by participants, parents, and music professionals, the PA made the Top-Rated Arts Nonprofits list in 2011 and 2014 on the Great Nonprofits website.

TYP performs at the 2012 Raleigh Arts Commission Medal of Arts ceremony.

THE PHILHARMONIC ASSOCIATION was extremely honored to be recognized by the City of Raleigh, North Carolina Arts Commission, as a 2012 recipient of the Medal of Arts.

The Triangle Youth Philharmonic performed for the ceremony on October 3, 2012.

In celebration of our 25th year, the Philharmonic Association commissioned works from local composers Craig Hanemann, Robert Nosow, Tom Lohr, and Terry Mizesko for TYSO, TYO, TYS and TYP to premiere.

All our groups, as well as an orchestra of PA alumni, performed for a grand celebration at Booth Amphitheatre, Cary, on June 2, 2013.

Other Medal of Arts Recipients Affiliated With the Philharmonic Association:

Artistic Director EmeritusHugh Partridge was a recipient of the Raleigh Medal of Arts in recognition of his “extraordinary achievement in the Arts” in 2003.

Gregg Gelb, conductor of our Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble from 2010 to present, was a recipient of the Raleigh Medal of Arts in 2019.