Our History


A music educator from the Issaquah School District named Frances Walton founded the music organization that would become Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra. The organization was formed to fulfill local parents’ desire for a full orchestra experience for their young musicians.

Known at first as the Eastlake Youth Symphony, it later merged with the Highline Youth Symphony and for more than twenty years was known as the Olympic Youth Symphony.


Frances Walton retired from her position as Music Director Olympic Youth Symphony. She still attends BYSO concerts and is an active musician and music advocate in the Seattle area.


Kathleen Macferran became Music Director of Olympic Youth Symphony.


The name of Olympic Youth Symphony was changed to Eastside Youth Symphonies. Ruth Brewster became Executive Director.

Elsewhere, Youth Philharmonic Northwest was founded by a group of parents and teachers in the Lake Washington School District. It was originally called the Eastlake Community Youth Symphony Orchestras. The core group for ECYSO was the Redmond-based Sammamish Strings, founded by Linda Joyce.


The name for Eastside Youth Symphonies was changed to Bellevue Eastside Youth Symphonies. Alan Futterman became Music Director.


The Bellevue Eastside Youth Symphonies merged with Youth Philharmonic Northwest. The new group took the name Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO).


Adam Stern become Music director. Dr. Teresa Metzger Howe became the conductor of BYSO’s Premiere Orchestra.


BYSO’s current Music Director, Dr. Teresa Metzger Howe, became Music Director and Youth Symphony conductor.


Executive Director Ruth Brewster retired. BYSO’s current Executive Director, Trudi Jackson, joined the staff .


Executive Director Trudi Jackson retired and Co-Interim Executive Directors Marcia Isenberger and Suzie Cavassa of Loveall Price and Assoc. led BYSO’s administrative operations while conducting a search for BYSO’s new executive.


Kevin Vortmann was announced as BYSO’s new Executive Director.


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