Our History

Our History

In 2017-2018, OYO celebrates its 43rd year of educating young musicians. Take a look at the timeline to see how we’ve grown, and the variety of enriching experiences we provide our students.

2014

OYO celebrates it’s 40th Anniversary season!

2013

Due to increasing membership numbers Studio String expands to offer two rehearsal times. Rehearsal sections combine to become one large orchestra for concert performances.

Zeljko Milicevic, fondly known by his students as “Mr. M”, celebrates his 20th season as OYO Symphony Orchestra conductor!

2012

As a result of rapid growth OYO moves it’s performance home to Oxford Fine Arts Center in Oxford, MI.

2011

Wendy Stuart, talented music educator and principal cellist for the Oakland Symphony Orchestra is appointed Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, replacing much-loved Tony Krempa who departs for Chicago to join his new bride and begin a new phase of his music career.

OYO introduces a new logo, website and Facebook page.

OYO Chamber Program is created in partnership with Oakland University Music Preparatory Division.

2010

OYO receives its first grant from Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

2009

OYO adds its 4th orchestra, Studio String –and an energetic and enthusiastic Nick Karpinsky is hired to lead the group.

Ervin Monroe returns as Guest Conductor to lead the Symphony Orchestra in the Overture to Candide.

2008

Charles Greenwell, an Assistant Conductor of the DSO, narrates Peter and the Wolf with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

2006

Rufus Reid, professional jazz bassist performs The Meddler with Zeljko Milicevic, Tony Krempa, and the String Orchestra.

2002

Our 3rd orchestra, the Philharmonia, is added with Tony Krempa as Conductor. John Kennedy, former OYO member, takes over the String Orchestra and becomes a key addition to OYO.

1998

Our 2nd group, String Orchestra , is created and Anthony Krempa is hired as its enthusiastic and inspiring Conductor.

Noted composer, James Hartway writes Car Trek commissioned by the Oakland Youth Orchestra by the Chrysler Corporation to perform.

1997

Special vocalist, Owain Phyfe, and the New World Renaissance perform with the OYO.

1994

Zeljko Milicevic, a past OYO student member, returns to OYO to fill the role of Conductor. His talents as an instructor and his passion for the students were an immediate asset to OYO. The orchestra had 64 members that season. Soon, a 5-year plan was in place, and a foundation for growth was established.

1990

Dr. Andrew Dabczynski, is hired as Conductor, and was instrumental in changing the name to Oakland Youth Orchestra, as well as accomplishing the incorporation as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

1978

Ani Kavafian, nationally known concert violinist, makes a guest appearance.

1988

Robert Phillips is hired as Conductor.

1976

Philip Austin, Assistant Principal Bassoonist of the DSO, plays as guest soloist.

1975

Oakland Youth Symphony, Inc. is established, thanks to the vision of Joan G. Berndt, Lecturer in the Music Department of Oakland University, and the energy of Dr. Raynoki Alvin, Department Chairman. We begin with 50 students.

Ervin Monroe, principal flutist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is hired as founding conductor. Lawrence Simmons serves as Associate Conductor.