Enriching Lives Through the Power of Music

Golden Gate Philharmonic, (GGP), is a San Francisco-based youth orchestra that uses the transformative power of music education to enrich the lives of K-12 Bay Area students.

Founded in 1995, our award-winning, performance-driven music education program makes learning an instrument fun and rewarding.  Learning to play in ensembles—Music Teams—provides students with a supportive, intimate atmosphere that fosters collaboration, camaraderie and collective accomplishment. Students are trained by and rehearse under professionally accomplished faculty and perform throughout the year in full orchestral concerts, chamber recitals and community events.  Our unique program is designed to make students…

Better in Music and Better in Life

  • Better in Music – Our orchestras and chamber ensembles are the very definition of teamwork. Students develop higher-level skills, learning both from instructors and peers, motivating them to prepare and practice more, which directly translates to being…
  • Better in Life – Students hone invaluable communication and interpersonal skills learning responsibility and mutual respect, and the understanding that what is created by everyone together is magic and larger than the sum of its parts.

GGP has helped develop the essential life skills of leadership, commitment and perseverance in over 2,000 students—preparing them to successfully navigate the road to higher education and to excel in leadership roles in their respective communities and chosen fields.

Academic Recognition

Top tier academic institutions, and IVY league schools look highly upon classically trained, and/or musically gifted students. They bring not just a wealth of talent to the school but are seen as well-rounded, and balanced individuals. Orchestral music is also known to be a genre that intellectuals appreciate, not just for its complexity but for its beauty.

Robust Music Education Program

We train Bay Area youth ages 5-18 from their first notes played as beginners, (Cadet Orchestra) through conservatory-ready young adults in the Camerata Orchestra, with numerous performance opportunities each season, building skills, experience and recognition.

Building Skills, Experience and Recognition

  • Four Orchestra levels with weekly sectional rehearsals and music theory classes encourage students to attain the highest standard of musical excellence, and to develop essential life skills of collaboration and teamwork, highly prized by top learning institutions.
  • Orchestral Concerts and Chamber Group recitals throughout the year provide unparalleled training through our stimulating, performance-oriented curriculum building confidence and empathy.
  • Leadership Positions are available to cultivate skills and build recognition.  Each orchestra has two positions for Conductor Assistants (CA’s) per semester.
  • Gig Program offers our Music Teams the opportunity to get real-life experience playing at special events for appreciative audiences.
  • Fall Music Retreat is a two-day musical adventure in the Redwoods where students, families and faculty build community and friendships while making music!
  • Volunteer Opportunities provide our students with the chance to play it forward by bringing joy performing at retirement homes and community events.
  • The Joan Murray Award for Outstanding Student Achievement in Music and Leadership: This prestigious honor is given to one or more students each year who embody our founder’s values in pursuit of musical excellence and community engagement in action and deed.  

Our Founder

Joan Murray, Founder, Executive Director Emerita and 2014 Jefferson Award recipient, was a music teacher in the San Francisco public school system for four decades. Upon her retirement in 1995 she created this outstanding music education program when she saw the significant and steady cuts in funding for music education in our schools. She is steadfast in her commitment to lifting youth to their full potential through her instrument of change-music!

All-Inclusive, Most Accessible Music Program in San Francisco

GGP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit (EIN-11-3740581). All string students are welcome. Wind students are accepted by audition. GGP is proud never to have turned a student away for inability to pay.  We offer scholarships based on need, typically, about 20% of enrollment. All students are strongly encouraged to study privately and are required to participate in their schools’ orchestral programs if available. For students unable to afford lessons, we offer group instruction within the program.

Join Golden Gate Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (GGP)

Register Now to start your musical journey. For more information, please Contact Us.