Our History

In 2018-2019, OYO celebrates its 44th 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 – 40th Anniversary

OYO commissions ​Catherine McMichael​ to write a piece for the organization. In May 2015, all four orchestras collectively premiered Symphony of the Ages


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!


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


Wendy Stuart, talented music educator and cellist is appointed Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, replacing much-loved Tony Krempa.

OYO introduces a new logo, website and Facebook page.

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


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


OYO adds its 4th group, Studio String Orchestra – 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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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


Robert Phillips is hired as Conductor.


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


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.