MYSO conductor announces retirement

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:43 am

After 48 years of leading the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO), conductor Ronald Melby will step down from the podium in May.


Melby began his music career at the West Allis School District as an orchestra director for grades K-8. He also directed Nathan Hale High School’s orchestra until 1995.

MYSO Founder Milton Weber initially hired Melby to take command of the youth organization’s third orchestra, the “Training Orchestra.” In 1985 Melby took charge of the youth orchestra’s second full symphony orchestra, known today as the MYSO Philharmonia.

The Philharmonia ensemble consists of 155 members, mostly in grades 9-12.

“Ron Melby has been vital to the success of the MYSO program,” said Carter Simmons, MYSO artistic director and music director of the Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia. “He has always demanded high musical standards and brings to the podium a thorough knowledge of how to teach each instrument. He has shaped the very important role of MYSO’s second symphony orchestra and its importance to the organization and has played a pivotal role in Philharmonia’s success. He has been helpful to the entire MYSO staff and so supportive to me as a conductor and as a friend.”

Melby will conduct his final youth orchestra performance on Sunday, May 19, at a concert titled “Melby’s Melodic MYSO Finale.” The performance will begin at 3 p.m. at Shattuck Auditorium at Carroll University, 218 N. East Ave. in Waukesha, and will showcase the musical talents of MYSO’s String Orchestras North & Central and Percussion Ensemble along with Melby’s Philharmonia students.

Tickets for the finale cost $12 for the general public and $10 for students and seniors at least 60 years old. Tickets will be available at the door. Discounted tickets will also be available for purchase through the MYSO office until May 15.

MYSO will celebrate Melby’s career at a reception after the concert. To RSVP for the reception or order tickets, call 414-267-2906.

For more information about additional MYSO concerts, visit

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