About Us

Auckland Youth Symphonic Band | Auckland Wind Orchestra

Who We Are

Auckland Youth Symphonic Band Inc. is an incorporated society and a registered charity with the purpose of supporting the following bands:

Each group provides a range of playing opportunities for woodwind, brass and percussion players, from community concerts to outdoor performances and ticketed events, including in collaboration with other groups and different parts of the musical community across Auckland.

The Auckland Wind Orchestra typically plays more demanding music than the AYSB, and is always looking for new players to join the band.

Our History

The Auckland Junior Symphonic Band was founded in 1967 by Hugh Dixon because there were no other Brass or Wind bands other than the Royal New Zealand Navy Band.  Wind and brass players had no choice but to be in an orchestra, and he had seen the idea of a wind and brass band earlier in America, so he chose to set one up in Auckland.  The AJSB was renamed to the Auckland Youth Symphonic Band shortly afterwards.

Dixon's band was a resounding success (no pun intended), and by 1973, he had over 90 players!  The solution: form a second band.  This was called the Junior Division of the Auckland Youth Symphonic Band, a bit of a mouthful.

The 1980s was a high point of the AYSB, with overseas trips to Singapore in 1980, Fiji in 1986, and Brisbane for the 1988 World Expo, followed by a 1998 trip to Australia to perform in the 21st Manly International Jazz Festival.

Since then, many schools have set up their own groups for wind and brass players, and there are very few schools without such a group.  The AYSB fills a niche for musicians who want more than what their school can offer – the joy of playing music in a large group, and making friends with people from other parts of Auckland.

Conductors have included Martin Heath, who is senior lecturer of music at the Teachers’ College, Bob Savigny, renowned for his electric violin, and Rod McLeay QSM, who led the band from 1978 to 2019.

AYSB alumni include bass clarinet soloist Andrew Uren, oboist Noah Rudd, and trumpeter Richard Breed.

The Auckland Youth Symphonic Band Incorporated (AYSB (Inc)) is currently an incorporated society which supports both the Auckland Youth Symphonic Band (AYSB) and the Auckland Wind Orchestra (AWO).

The Band celebrated its 50th Birthday in 2017 - this was a hugely successful concert, showcasing both divisions of the AYSB, and including past and present players.

Conductor Emeritus Rod McLeay QSM