Children's Orchestra Society

The Children's Orchestra Society (COS) is a non-profit organization in New York City founded by Dr. Hiao Tsiun Ma for musically talented children and teens.[1][2]


Founded in 1962, the organization is dedicated to "teaching children the language of music" and to presenting young musicians - through orchestra and chamber music presentations - to other children and to well-established artists. It is under the leadership of its executive director, Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma, and music director, Michael Dadap since 1984. COS believed in children's capability to learn and develop musical talent at the highest level, especially if nurtured and supported. Teaching begins from early childhood to high school graduates. With this vision, through the support of its board members, and the dedicated work of its staff and faculty, COS grew from an 18-member ensemble to a 35 string players in 1984, then to more than 200 student members, which is composed of four orchestras, a chamber music department, musicianship classes, and private lessons in piano, guitar and all orchestral instruments. Its advanced orchestra, the Young Symphonic Ensemble, was able to present annual concerts at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall since the establishment of the Discovery Concert Series in 1994. Some of COS's past guest artists include: Emanuel Ax, Sarah Chang, Jaime Laredo, Cecile Licad, Yo-Yo Ma, Paula Robison, David Shifrin, and Cho-Liang Lin. The Young Symphonic Ensemble (YSE) had also toured in numerous cities in North America, the Far East and the United Kingdom, including performances in Scotland, the Philippines, Taiwan and Toronto. COS members perform in orchestral and chamber music concerts with well-known musicians and their peer group. In 2007, COS made its Carnegie Hall Debut with guest artists Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson. The organization strives to involve members with their communities through performances for civic and cultural groups. The New York Times has reviewed several of its performances.[1][3]

Mission and philosophy

Apart from being a non-profit and an educationally inclined organization for children, the Children's Orchestra Society also has the mission to cultivate and nurture children in the spirit of teamwork and to provide skills that are useful in life through music-learning and performing opportunities in orchestral and chamber music settings. COS provides excellent training in classical music. The organization has a unique child-centered teaching approach because it believes in a child's innate capacity to learn and develop encouraged in a friendly, supportive and cooperative environment. The learning experience of a child at COS is not specifically to produce professional musicians, but to instill in each member the concept of invaluable experience and the benefits of music making. This is done at COS by fostering a supportive learning environment, by creating performing opportunities, by providing role models and a bridge to the professional world through master classes and performance collaborations with eminent musicians, and by enriching and involving the community through performances for civic and cultural groups.[2]


The Children's Orchestra Society is committed to keeping its programs accessible to the broadest range of families. Acceptance to COS is based on auditions. The audition process is very thorough. The organization accepts students of various levels and offers a wide range of programs suitable for students from beginners to the most gifted. Membership fees are kept below the actual costs of the organization's operation, and scholarships are available for exceptional young musicians who require financial assistance.[2]

See also




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