The Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony (AYWS) was founded in 1988 as the premier honor wind ensemble for high school youth in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Its purpose is to provide a positive musical experience in an artistic environment for advanced instrumentalists in wind and percussion performance. The AYWS rehearses and performs grade five and six (collegiate and professional) original wind band literature composed over a wide span of stylistic compositional periods. As an ensemble, it is one of the most visible ambassadors of culture and youth performance for Atlanta and the state of Georgia.

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The AYWS typically performs four concerts annually. Additionally, the group has participated in commissioned compositions, world and regional premieres, professional music conferences, and tours. Guest composers, soloists, and conductors of national renown are regularly invited to perform with the students, including:


  • Frank Ticheli

  • Bruce Broughton

  • Ron Nelson

  • Eric Ewazen

  • Jonathan Newman

  • Steven Bryant

  • John Mackey

  • Eric Whitacre

  • James Barnes

  • Carolyn Bremer

  • David Holsinger

  • James Barnes

  • Stephen Paulus

  • David Gillingham

  • Michael Daugherty

  • Christopher Tucker

  • William Pitts

  • Jonathan Hoffmann

Guest Artists

  • Joseph Alessi
    Principal trombone, New York Philharmonic

  • Richard Stoltzman
    International clarinet soloist and recording artist

  • Jeff Nelsen
    Horn player with the Canadian Brass and professor at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University

  • Susan Rider
    Cornet soloist, "The President's Own" United States Marine Band

  • Anthony Maiello
    George Mason University

  • Mark Scatterday
    Eastman School of Music

  • Stuart Stephenson
    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

The AYWS has appeared on Public Radio International's acclaimed radio program "From the Top" with pianist Christopher O'Riley and WABE's "Atlanta Music Scene" with Robert Hubert, and has performed at:

And in exchange concerts with:

Fellow Ensembles

There is a rich legacy of music-making in Atlanta, and in addition to many excellent school music programs and highly talented private instructors, the AYWS is honored to count among its colleagues these top quality youth music ensembles:

Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra (AYSO)
Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and Wind Ensemble (GYSO)
Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble (MAYWE)
Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO)

The budget of the AYWS is drawn primarily from membership fees, the support of the AYWS Foundation and outside partnerships, sponsorships, grants, and donations.