Symphony Koss (front row, second from right) with fellow National Youth Orchestra musicians and U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad (front row, third from right) at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in July 2018. (Photo by Chris Lee, used with photographer permission.)

Columbia River High School senior Symphony Koss was selected last summer by the Carnegie Hall for the sixth annual National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. The only violinist chosen from Washington state, Koss joined an elite group of young musicians from across the country who qualified for just 106 spots in the orchestra.

She completed an intensive three-week training residency in New York with leading orchestral professionals before performing at Carnegie Hall. Koss later traveled to Asia with the National Youth Orchestra for 17 days, performing in Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul and Daejeon. The orchestra also met local youth musicians for performances and panel discussions and performed for U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad while visiting the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Koss is no stranger to high-profile performances. Her previous summer experiences include the Interlochen World Youth Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute. She served as the concertmaster for both. She also serves as co-concertmaster of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, a role she’s held two years in a row.

When she’s not performing, Koss dedicates her time to others. She enjoys volunteering with the nonprofits BRAVO Youth Orchestra and Olivenbaum and received a President’s Volunteer Service Award for her efforts.

In November 2018, Koss was selected as a semifinalist in the 2019 Coca-Cola Scholarship Program. She is one of almost 1,900 semifinalists chosen from among 95,000 applicants for their academic excellence, leadership and service in school and community activities. Semifinalists are in the running for 150 college scholarships worth $20,000.

Koss is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme candidate. While she’s open to many different college opportunities, she is considering majoring in neuroscience and minoring in music.