The Kennedy Center

The Blues Alley Youth Orchestra


Now in its 33rd year the Blues Alley Youth Orchestra has graduated students from every major music school and conservatory in America. The orchestra is an award-winning ensemble comprised of top-tier students from throughout the greater Washington metropolitan area. The orchestra has been repeatedly honored to perform at such distinguished venues as the Smithsonian Institution, The Kennedy Center, Voice of America, National Cherry Blossom Festival, Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts and its historic nightclub namesake Blues Alley Jazz. The orchestra is overseen by the non-profit Blues Alley Jazz Society organization which administers three principal student programs: youth orchestra, summer jazz camp and a children’s jazz festival every April during “Jazz Appreciation Month”. The music direction is under the directorship of acclaimed artist and musician Mr. Michael Bowie. Further information about all of our programming can be found on-line at

Watch Past Performances

Video 4/3/2018: A Tribute to the American Songbook "Past and Present"

The Blues Alley Youth Orchestra will perform song selections honoring time-tested compositions by D.C.’s own Duke Ellington, as well as those that will become the new standards from composers such as Chick Corea, Tower Of Power, and Michael Jackson. The orchestra has been in existence for the past 33 years, is under the musical direction of Michael Bowie, and is named for its nightclub namesake.

Video 4/25/2017: The Blues Alley Youth Orchestra

The Blues Alley Youth Orchestra salutes America’s “First Lady of Song” on the day of her centennial celebration. The orchestra is an 18-piece, award-winning big band ensemble performing selections from the Great American Songbook including “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Deed I Do.” This event is a component of the 13th annual BIG BAND JAM! and is under the musical directions of Mr. Michael Bowie. Further details can be found online at

Video 3/1/2016: Blues Alley Youth Orchestra

The Blues Alley Youth Orchestra, comprised of talented local student musicians, returns to the Millennium Stage to perform an exciting evening of jazz music. Under the music direction of Michael Bowie, the orchestra is one of three non-profit programs administered by the Blues Alley Jazz Society in Washington, D.C.

Video 4/11/2015: Target Family Night: The Blues Alley Youth Orchestra

Under the direction of Mr. Michael Bowie, the talented local ensemble brings its energetic and youthful take on big band jazz. The group’s alumni are graduates of every major music conservatory in America.

Video 4/20/2014: The Blues Alley Youth Orchestra

Accomplished student musicians ages 14-17 offer an evening of big band jazz music.

Video 3/5/2012: Blues Alley Youth Orchestra

The ensemble, comprised of accomplished student musicians ranging in age from 14 to 17, presents a program of big band jazz.

The Blues Alley Youth Orchestra