About PYO
Photo / Fiora Sacco and Claire Bernoth

About Penrith Youth Orchestra

In February 2018, history was made for young musicians in Western Sydney when 44 students came together in the inaugural workshops of Penrith Youth Orchestra (PYO).

PYO was established in a partnership between the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO). The Orchestra expanded on the highly successful Penrith Strings program which ran from 2015 to 2017, adding wind, brass and percussion sections.

Penrith Youth Orchestra is an ambitious partnership which provides young musicians in Western Sydney with

  • Access to expert mentoring by leading performers and musicians
  • A family-friendly schedule that includes workshops that are typically held on three Sunday afternoons per term
  • A warm, caring and supportive environment which has a collaborative and community and focusses on learning, not competition
  • A locally-based youth orchestra that is dedicated to the students of Western Sydney and its surrounds
  • The strong partnership of key organisations which ensures a solid educational, musical and administrative foundation.

Read more about PYO’s founding directors, patron and program partners below.

Dr Paul Terracini,

Paul is an Australian conductor, composer and arranger who now lives in the Blue Mountains after spending almost 20 years living and working in Europe. He was appointed Artistic Director of Penrith Symphony Orchestra in 2010 and is in constant demand as a guest conductor and instructor.

Previously, Paul held positions as Principal Trumpet in the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra; Lecturer at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music; and Solo Trumpet in the Danish Chamber Players, with whom he performed throughout Europe, South America and Asia. He has also been guest professor and conductor at several conservatoriums in Europe and China. As a trumpet soloist, he has performed in Europe, the USA, England and Asia, as well as with the Melbourne, Queensland, Tasmanian and West Australian symphony orchestras. As well as that, as a conductor he has recorded ten CDs with the Prague Symphony Orchestra and conducted operas and orchestral concerts in Germany, Denmark and Italy.

Paul’s compositions have been performed by ensembles including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass, the Prague Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He has composed widely for film and television.

Aiko Goto,

Aiko began her violin training at the age of three with the Suzuki Method and studied at the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Japan. In 1994, she received a scholarship to study at the Juilliard School in New York under Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki. The following year, Aiko made her New York debut at the Carnegie Weil Recital Hall, receiving the highest critical acclaim, and in 1997 she performed for the International Refugee Fund attended by the Japanese Royal Family. In addition to that, she was the Coordinator of Strings at Newark School of the Arts in the USA until 1998.

Moreover, Aiko has been a member of the Saito Kinen Orchestra since 1995, directed by Seiji Ozawa (she was a Concertmistress for ‘the Saito Kinen Festival gig’ in 2014). She has held annual solo recitals in Sydney and at the Japanese Embassy in Canberra since 2000 and in 2006 gave recitals in Tokyo for the Australia-Japan Year of Exchange.

A member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) since 1998, Aiko is passionate about teaching and sharing her love of music with young musicians and in 2012 she established the ACO Academy, held in July each year. As well as that, she is a mentor for the ACO Emerging Artist Program and ACO Collective.

Maestro Richard Bonynge, AC, CBE,
PYO Patron


Penrith Conservatorium is pleased to announce that famed Australian conductor, pianist and widower of soprano Dame Joan Sutherland, Richard Bonynge, has agreed to become the inaugural patron of the Penrith Youth Orchestra.


Penrith Youth Orchestra (PYO) is a professional orchestral training program for young musicians in the heart of Western Sydney designed to help them build their ensemble skills in a dynamic and supportive environment. Led by tutors from Penrith Symphony Orchestra (PSO), Penrith Conservatorium of Music at Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and the world-renowned Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), PYO rehearses and performs four times per year under the guidance of PSO’s Artistic Director, Dr Paul Terracini. On occasion, the orchestra also performs in public concerts alongside Penrith Symphony Orchestra.


This patronage comes after many years of significant support from Bonynge in other areas of the Conservatorium. For many years, he has provided the Richard Bonynge Scholarship, the premiere scholarship at the Conservatorium for piano students, which has supported many up-and-coming pianists in Western Sydney to continue their studies, with many expanding out to perform in other areas of music, such as in the PYO. In 2021, he also graced the Conservatorium with a namesake for its new chamber ensemble, the Richard Bonynge Ensemble (RBE), which has quickly become the premier group of classical chamber music in Western Sydney. In December of that year, they performed at the unveiling of a new portrait by Australian painter Mathew Lyn, where the Maestro was present. They have since performed at many highly successful concerts and events.


Bonynge conducted nearly all of Sutherland’s operatic performances from 1962 until her retirement in 1990 and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to music in 1977. In 1983, he was made Officer of the Order of Australia, and in 1989 a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2009, he was awarded the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award and on 26 January 2012, he was promoted within the Order of Australia to Companion.

Photo: Eddy Summers

Program Partners

Australian Chamber Orchestra

The Australian Chamber Orchestra is one of the world’s most lauded chamber ensembles, renowned for its inspired programming and unrivalled virtuosity, energy and individuality. Its unique programming extends across six centuries, spanning popular masterworks, adventurous cross-art form projects and pieces specially commissioned for the ensemble. Read more

Penrith Symphony Orchestra

Penrith Symphony Orchestra is a “pro-am” (part-professional, part-amateur) symphony orchestra. Formed in 1988 to present a Bicentenary celebration concert in Penrith, it has become an ongoing and major part of the performing arts sector in Western Sydney.

Presenting a diverse program of performances, the orchestra offers audiences in Western Sydney and surrounding areas an attractive, accessible and highly affordable alternative to the relatively high effort and cost required to experience and attend similar musical experiences in central Sydney.

Opportunities for advanced members of Penrith Youth Orchestra to perform in PSO concerts are one of the key music education and performance pathways that the youth orchestra creates in the Western Sydney community. Read more

Penrith Conservatorium of Music

Penrith Conservatorium of Music operates as a fundamental program of the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and exists as a hub for instrumental teaching in Western Sydney. The Conservatorium seeks to create ways in which its students can play together to develop their ensemble skills and to draw students learning from different teachers to the Conservatorium. Read more

Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre

The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre comprises of three performance venues as well as the Penrith Conservatorium of Music and The Q contemporary theatre programs. The Joan stands at the heart of the performing arts in Penrith. Offering a dynamic blend of quality arts learning experiences for all ages and abilities, professionally presented performances and audience development activities, it is also a supporter and facilitator of community creativity and a producer and champion of new artistic works across genres and disciplines. Read more