The Portland Youth Philharmonic – America’s First Youth Orchestra, provides musical education and training for nearly 300 young musicians each year in four ensembles: the Philharmonic Orchestra, Conservatory Orchestra, the Young String Ensemble, and the Wind Ensemble. Musicians range in age from 7-23 and enter the organization through competitive audition. The mission of the Portland Youth Philharmonic is to maintain the finest youth orchestra, educate and inspire through the performance of symphonic music, and to act as a cultural asset. In 1924 a group of visionary citizens established the Portland Junior Symphony Association (renamed the Portland Youth Philharmonic in 1978). Building on the pioneering work of Mary V. Dodge, whose Irvington School Orchestra was the nucleus of the first Junior Symphony, the Portland Junior Symphony was the first established youth orchestra in the country with a program that was to become the prototype for youth orchestras across the country.