Founded in 1948, Auckland Youth Orchestra is the premier regional youth orchestra in New Zealand and was the first youth orchestra established in the Southern Hemisphere, designed to bridge the gap between school orchestras and adult professional groups. The role of AYO is not just to perform concerts but to train future musicians to feed into our national ensembles and orchestras. We also play an important audience development role as some of our members are likely to be future audience members and supporters of the arts. AYO is a healthy social experience for young people and makes an important contribution to the cultural life of Auckland and New Zealand. No other orchestral organisation or institution in New Zealand provides such a comprehensive programme to musicians up to the age of 26.