Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) Receives $12,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Milwaukee, Wisconsin – National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $12,000 to Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) for its Progressions program. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.


“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as MYSO in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”


“We use music to spark joy in our students in creating beautiful sounds with fellow musicians,” said MYSO Executive Director, Linda Edelstein. “Along the way, often without realizing it, they learn skills such as collaboration, leadership, and creativity, which will serve them and our community well, long into the future.”


Program Description

Progressions is an immersive two-year string training program, which provides private instruction and orchestral training in violin, viola, cello, and bass to third and fourth grade students who have limited musical experience and live in or attend a school in the City of Milwaukee. One of the primary aims of Progressions is increased participation in MYSO by students from populations (e.g., racial, ethnic, socioeconomic) that face barriers of access and equity in music study. All of Progressions students come from low-to-moderate income families and 90% are students of color. The program will serve as many as 75 students in the 2018-19 season.


For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit




Since 1956, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) has been nurturing, challenging, and inspiring generations of students, profoundly changing lives and our community for the better. MYSO has grown from one orchestra and 30 students to become the largest after-school youth orchestra in the country, and one of the most respected. We serve 1,000 of the area’s young musicians who come from more than 200 schools, 60 communities, and as many as 14 counties throughout southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. We reach an audience of 22,000 annually through the more than 80 concerts we perform.


The importance of MYSO as a catalyst for youth development and community change has not gone unnoticed.In our 2015-16 season, MYSO received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the country’s highest honor for after-school youth arts and humanities programs, presented by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. MYSO is the only youth orchestra in the country ever to have received this recognition.


Today we offer more than 40 ensemble and supplemental training options, ranging from symphony and string orchestras, and jazz and steel pan bands to music theory, composition, and international tours, providing quality musical experiences for a wide range of skill levels.


For more information about MYSO and its many programs, please visit


MYSO is a proud founding member of the United Performing Arts Fund.


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