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Annual Concerts


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Happy Audience

The Durham Youth Orchestra is accepting applications.


What’s New



Our 2021-2022 Season is now completed.

Our 2021-2022 concerts were a great success! Thank you to everyone who attended.

Heart Strings Quartet


Add some beautiful live music to your next special event! Our Heart Strings Quartet is available to play at functions and events. For more information, please contact John Beaton at jbeaton@dyomusic.com.

Want to know what our audiences say about us?

I am pleased to convey my sincere appreciation of the Durham Youth Orchestra. In addition to hearing members perform at our Inaugural Council Meeting and at the recent Mayor’s Fundraiser at Trafalgar Castle, I have had the pleasure of attending many concerts at St. George’s in Oshawa and seeing the DYO perform with the Ontario Philharmonic at the Regent Theatre. These talented young musicians enhance the cultural richness of our town and region. My best wishes for the continuing success of the Durham Youth Orchestra.

Don Mitchell

Mayor, Town of Whitby

As a music educator in the O’Neill Collegiate Performing Arts Program, I am so appreciative of the fine opportunity that the DYO provides for young musicians and audiences in our community. John Beaton, a fine educator, gives such careful consideration to his programming, ensuring wide exposure to the classics from the orchestral canon. His differentiated approach to programming creates appropriate performance opportunities from the least experienced to the most advanced players. I had the thrilling experience of being under his baton playing my Twinkle Variations with my 6 year old, as well as sharing the podium to conduct the orchestra with my vocal ensemble, the O’Neill Collegiate Chamber Choir. The collaboration with the choir was a unique and challenging experience for my students.

Mr. Beaton and Mr. Otway have unwavering high expectations for the DYO. This standard of excellence is achieved through meticulous attention to musicianship and dedication. Students are exposed to professional soloists and often engage in instrument specific workshops. The DYO further elevates the performance standard by having the youth musicians play alongside professional musicians providing students inspiration and musical prowess for which to aspire.

Having shared many students with the DYO and collaborated numerous times, I have observed the benefits of belonging to such a fine community organization. Life-long skills are honed such as commitment, perseverance and working co-operatively with others to achieve greatness.

The DYO is wonderful for our community; for young musicians and audiences alike. Thank you for providing such high calibre arts and culture in Durham Region!

Erin Collins

Teacher, O'Neill Collegiate, Oshawa

In the many years I’ve been associated with the Durham Youth Orchestra as Honorary Patron, I’ve been thrilled by every concert. I’ve also been thrilled to witness the progress of kids from tiny beginners to brilliant performers who go on to elite schools such as Julliard.

The secrets to all these successes are predictable but so very difficult – great kids, a brilliant maestro in John Beaton, and immensely loving and hard-working parents and volunteers.

‎I extend my congratulations to all and look forward to many more great concerts.

With very best wishes,

Dr Gary Polonsky

Honorary Patron, Durham Youth Orchestra

Featured Artists

Samantha Cardwell

Samantha Cardwell


An expressive and dynamic figure on stage, Canadian-Australian musician Samantha Cardwell demonstrates her musical versatility in both period and modern performances and is currently pursuing her Associate Diploma for both violin and piano. She was awarded the Chairman’s Award for Advanced Piano 2019, Founders Award Trophy for the Seniors Instrumental in 2018 (Violin), Intermediate Instrumental in 2014 (Violin), and Junior Trophy in 2011 (Piano) at the Oshawa-Whitby Kiwanis Music Festival.

Samantha enjoys composing, writing songs and playing her guitar. She also plays the Viola in the College Park String Group, plays the piano and organ at her local Church, and sings in two choirs that tour across Ontario, Quebec and USA.

Her interests, as well as her experience in solo, string group and Orchestral performance, have brought Samantha opportunities to perform at various engagements in Canada and the States. She has also performed with the Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra in their Christmas Program at The Regent Theater in 2018.

Aleksander Kats

Aleksander Kats


Aleksander Kats is a grade 12 student, currently attending Earl Haig Secondary School, majoring in the Claude Watson Film Arts program. He began studying piano at the age of 7 and continues to study with his grandfather, Alexander Kats, to this day. Over the past several years, Aleksander has received multiple ‘First Class Honours with Distinction’ certificates for his piano and theory examinations, one of which came with a ‘Celebration of Excellence Gold Medalist’ award. For the period of 4 consecutive years, Aleksander has won several First Place Awards in the Concerto Class at the Peel Music Festival, his latest being for the performance of the First Movement of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto no. 2 in C minor. Other musical experiences include playing for the school’s Senior Band, Jazz Band, as well as being an accompanist for the church choir.

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