For 50 years, LYSO has been offering a musical experience that has enriched the lives of thousands of area youth.

The LYSO Story

Frank Italiano

Frank Italiano

In 1967 Frank J. Italiano brought a group of young musicians together, this was the beginning. Two years later, in 1969, the La Crosse Youth Symphony Society became incorporated. The La Crosse Youth Symphony has grown and changed over the years, but it still has the same purpose today as it did then: to give the youth of the area a way to gain valuable musical experience, to obtain different insights into the techniques of their particular instrument from a faculty of professional musicians and teachers, and finally, to give our youth the enjoyment of performing in an orchestra and an appreciation of the arts - whether as a performer, a future teacher or an avid audience participant.

In the fall of 1983, the Youth Symphony added the Philharmonic Orchestra. There have been other groups added over the years, such as the Preparatory Stings, the Discovery Orchestra and the Premier Orchestra. Today LYSO has two groups, the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Italiano Orchestra.

The LYSO would like to thank all the people who have made the past years possible. These include the many students who have participated over the years and the parents who volunteered their time to help our organization grow. Thanks to all the faculty members and conductors who have taught those students, and to the Board Members who have given so much. Lastly, thank you to all of our contributors over the years, without your support we would not be able to continue to give our youth such a great opportunity.


Italiano Orchestra

Frank J. Italiano: 1967-1990
Mark Taylor: 1990-1991
Kevin Ryan: 1991-1992
Douglas Diamond: 1992-1994
David Phipps: 1994-1998
Dawson Strutt: 1998-2007
Enaldo Oliveira: 2007-2008
Randall Mastin: 2009 - Present

Philharmonic String Orchestra

Jerry Lehmeier: 1983-1984
Dr. Joseph Cordeiro: 1984
Richard Pinnell: 1985-1990
Marianne Spors Buchanan: 1990-1991
Dawson Strutt: 1991-1994
Elizabeth Becker: 1994-1998
Sharolyn Birdsong: 1998-1999
Randall Mastin: 1999-2003
Dr. Edward Higgins: 2003-2005
Mark Lakmann: 2005-2006
Francis de la Rosa: 2006-2007
Randall Mastin: 2007-2008
Linda Lebakken: 2008 - 2017 Nick Hansberry 2017 -2019