Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, string quartet

Music Director Ben Simon

Music Director Ben Simon

The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (PACO) is an award-winning youth orchestra for regional string musicians of high-school age and younger. PACO’s five ensembles – SuperStrings, Preparatory, Debut, Sinfonia, and Senior PACO – have approximately 25 members each, rehearsing weekly and performing throughout the year to an extraordinary level of music-making and commitment to their art. At PACO, we believe that making music-and lifelong friends-is best achieved in an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork. Our focus on small orchestras and chamber music makes that possible, and we minimize internal competition to foster creativity and collaboration for our young musicians. PACO students get many opportunities to work with each other across orchestra levels, knitting our musical family together and providing teaching and learning opportunities for all. Teamwork, compassion, empathy, and imagination are hallmarks for our community. More than just learning how to play the notes, our students learn the real meaning and value of playing well with others. 

Our emphasis on chamber music uniquely sets PACO apart from other youth programs and lies at the core of our educational success. Doing so allows a highly personalized commitment to both our students and our community, as envisioned in our mission statement:

“To cultivate the highest artistic values and embrace the importance of human relationships through the study of chamber music; to serve as goodwill ambassadors through the performance of chamber music at home and abroad; and to instill a life-long appreciation of chamber music in young people, their families, and the community.”