Who we are


Youth Orchestras of Essex County is the longest running youth orchestra 

organization in the state of New Jersey.   Founded in 1956, we have three 

symphonic orchestras at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels, and a jazz and world music ensemble where students learn the art of improvisation. 

YOEC offers the most experienced, most distinguished instructional faculty of any youth orchestra in the state. Our faculty have performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, The Mostly Mozart Festival, New York City Ballet, New York Pops, New York City Opera, Tanglewood Festival, The Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Paper Mill Playhouse Orchestra, The Montclair Orchestra, and more. They have performed on Broadway and at major jazz festivals, including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Central Park Summerstage, and have been featured in Downbeat and Jazz Times. They are graduates of Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, Oberlin, Indiana University, New England Conservatory, and other top-ranked music programs throughout the nation. Many of our conductors and teaching artists are New Jersey or New York state licensed and certified public school music teachers with decades of experience, qualified to provide our students with the effective and engaging ensemble experiences.  

Today, generations of YOEC alumni are now professional musicians, staffing symphonic orchestras, pit orchestras, and teaching posts throughout the northeast. Many more have gone on to outstanding professional careers in medicine, law, science, engineering, business, academia, journalism, and more, the personal discipline and cooperative skills they acquired through the study of music propelling them forwards to achieve their goals.