Firebird Youth Chinese Orchestra

Firebird Youth Chinese Orchestra


Firebird Youth Chinese Orchestra (FYCO) is an outstanding artistic and educational Chinese-American organization in the Bay Area. Holding its weekly activities at San Jose City College Music Department, FYCO provides Chinese music classes for students aged 6-17. The students can learn the Erhu (two-stringed violin), Dizi (bamboo flute), Pipa (four-stringed lute) and many other Chinese instruments. Currently, it has over a hundred students spread across 5 proficiency level-groups.


With only 13 young musicians, FYCO was founded in 2000. FYCO strives to play the traditional instruments creatively by premièring many new works composed for Chinese orchestra as well as for collaboration with Western symphony orchestras. Some of FYCO’s programs presented the organic merge of the concert hall, dance theater, and opera house styles, bringing refreshing experiences to the audience all the time. Because of its outstanding achievements, National Endowment for the Arts praised FYCO as “one of the very few ensembles in the United States dedicated to educating young people, their families and communities through traditional Chinese music, and is carrying out its mission with great success.”

Services Offered

Beginning and intermediate students: An instrument lesson followed by a music fundamentals or an ensemble class on Sunday afternoons. Advanced students: An one-hour instrument lesson and a two-hour orchestra class on Saturday evenings. Frequent performing opportunities.

Interesting Facts

* Natural acoustics only available in professionally equipped college-level facilities. * High return on low investment in music and culture education. * 4 scholarship awards annually. * Teamwork training and leadership opportunities. * 11 high school graduates in 2012, 7 with FYCO for 8-10 years, 5 attending UC Berkeley, 1 Columbia University and the rest at other UCs. * Has been featured on newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, including KPIX (Ch.5), ABC (Ch.7), KQED (Ch.9), KTSF (Ch.26), KICU (Ch.36), KTEH (Ch.54), CCTV (China Central Television), Hong Kong Phoenix, and Phoenix North America. * The first Chinese orchestra in America invited by China’s Ministry of Culture to visit China, by NBA to play the National Anthem, and to represent Santa Clara County to visit the sister county and cities in Taiwan.

Connection to the Community

FYCO is one of the very few Asian grantees of the city, state, and federal government arts agencies. It serves the community by giving frequent performances in public schools, libraries, senior homes, and enterprises such as Apple, Microsoft, Intel, VMware, eBay, Target, PwC, and Cartier.

Additional Information

FYCO is open to students with all cultural backgrounds although the majority of its members are Chinese-Americans. English is the primary language in the classrooms.


San Jose City College Music Department in the new Fine Arts Center. 2100 Moor Park Ave. San Jose, CA 95128

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