Our Mission

The mission of the San José Chamber Orchestra (SJCO) is to share exciting, thought-provoking, and vibrant music by contemporary and time-honored composers reflecting the cultural diversity of our ever-changing community, and to support and inspire the next generation of musicians and audiences. In addition, SJCO embraces the responsibility of providing young, emerging artists with opportunities to work with established musicians and composers in order to provide collaborative, creative environments that create connection to community and are key in the twenty-first century. We are passionate about sharing music by living composers and developing skills and the love of music in the next generation.


Our Music Director

Maestra Barbara Day Turner is the founder and music director of the San José Chamber Orchestra, and its family of youth orchestras. An ardent advocate for new music, she has premiered more than 140 new works just with SJCO. Named the 2012 Silicon Valley Arts Council “On Stage” Artist Laureate, Maestra Day Turner recently completed 15 seasons as Music Administrator and Conductor of the Utah Festival Opera and spent 18 years as Artistic Administrator and Conductor for Opera San José. She has conducted the world premiere of operas by Henry Mollicone, Craig Bohmler, George Roumanis and Alva Henderson and has over 100 operas and musicals in her repertoire. Abroad, Maestra Day Turner has conducted opera in Berlin and the Thuringian Symphony Orchestra in Germany as well as the Orquesta Sinfónica de Aguascalientes, Mexico. Maestra Turner’s discography includes 6 recordings with SJCO, the PBS award-winning DVD of George Roumanis’ opera Phaedra, the Naxos release of Alva Henderson’s opera Nosferatu, and a recent critically acclaimed Naxos release of varied works by Howard Hersh entitled Angels and Watermarks. She is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera national auditions, annually serves as a judge for the Irving M. Klein International String Competition, and serves on the board of directors of the Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy and the advisory boards of the Delphi Trio and Opera Neo in San Diego.


The SJCO Youth Orchestra Program, begun in 2001, now encompasses seven orchestras serving approximately 130 young string and flute players and a new chamber ensemble program. This program is designed to equip young players with the skills needed for excellent performance, as well as instill disciplines useful in all areas of life and foster a wider appreciation of the arts. SJYCO distinguishes itself through the strong mentoring relationship that the professional orchestra provides, giving students opportunities to work directly with professionals who coach sectional rehearsals, and through the annual “Side-by-Side” concerts, where the senior orchestra performs side-by-side with the members of the professional orchestra and the younger groups perform side-by-side with the seniors. The Senior YCO also works with a composer on a newly commissioned work each season, annually appears on a regular SJCO subscription concert, and makes a summer trip to New York City once every few years.