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 five 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!”


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

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.

  • North Carolina Bach Festival concert
  • Raleigh Boychoir
  • Town of Cary
  • Sister Cities of Raleigh and the City of Hull Youth Symphony Orchestra (Raleigh’s Sister City in the UK)
  • Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC
  • Martin Luther King All-Children’s Choir
  • Carolina Ballet Principal Conductor Alfred E. Sturgis
  • Raleigh Dance Theatre
  • Inaugural Gala of Governor Michael Easley in 2005 and again for his second Inaugural Gala in 2009
  • Cary High School Concert Chorus directed by Edward Yasick
  • Enloe Chamber Choir
  • Capital City Girls Choir Cantabile Singers
  • International Ballet Company of Cary
TYP performs Lady Kate with the Raleigh Dance Theatre, 2004.

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


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 Emeritus Hugh 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.


Meet Our Supporters

The Philharmonic Association wishes to thank and acknowledge the following organizations and corporations for their funding support.