Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra
The vision of the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra is to provide the best possible experience and resources for our young musicians. A Board of Directors composed of individuals with professional artistic and non-profit expertise provides the best opportunity to meet the vision stated above.
The Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra had its beginnings in the 1970s as an expansion of early string programs in the Charleston County Schools. Two string orchestras, the West Ashley Strings and the East Cooper Strings were formed to combine students in the various school programs into larger, more advanced ensembles.
In the mid 1970s, the two string orchestras were combined with winds and percussion to become the Charleston County Youth Symphony led by Ruth Goldsmith, John Steffa, and David Ezell. During Ralph Rizzolo’s tenure as Executive Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the organization was taken under the wing of the CSO as the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra. Former conductors include Won Mo Kim, Stuart Malina, Ed Ritchen, Rex Conner, and Richard Marcus.
In 2007, the orchestra was renamed the Youth Orchestra of the Lowcountry and became an independent, non-profit organization in 2009. In 2014, the orchestra began a new chapter as the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO) by affiliating once again with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
The CSYO still maintains its independent non-profit status with a separate Board of Directors. Over the years, the orchestra has performed for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the South Carolina Music Educators In-Service Conference, and the Royal London Heritage Music Festival. Former members have gone on to major in music at such prestigious institutions as the University of South Carolina, Boston Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, and the Cincinnati Conservatory.
The following individuals, having met the required professional standards and having demonstrated a strong dedication to classical music and our youth, comprise the current board membership.
Janine Nagrodsky, President
Ellen Dressler Moryl, Vice President
Susan J. Herdina, Secretary
Robert G. Hill, Jr., Treasurer
Reta Hampton, Parent Representative
Gloria Evadne Palmer-Long, CSOL Representative
Scott Rush, Dorchester Two School District