Betty Perry

Betty Perry is the Artistic Director and the Founder of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra (MYO), now a program of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. She is a native of New York City and a product of the renowned Third Street Settlement Music School. She has held a career as a successful violist, master teacher, and conductor.

Born in New York City, Perry was introduced to the viola in the public school system at the age of 12. She began her viola studies at the Third Street Settlement Music School on a music scholarship and studied under Julius Shaier. Her teachers also included Paul Doktor, Harris Danziger, Sol Greitzer and Lawrence Shapiro. Perry attended the New York College of Music, Mannes College of Music, and Butler University. She was a co-founder and former principal violist of the Harlem Symphony Orchestra in NYC. Perry has been a member of the Symphony of the New World, NYC, the Richmond Symphony, IN and has held principal positions in the Kokomo Symphony and the Wabash College Chamber Orchestra.

During her time with the Third Street Music School Settlement, Perry was inspired to devote her life to teaching and providing music opportunities for youth regardless of economic need. Her focus was to use music as a vehicle to help strengthen families and to bring diverse communities together. To that end, Ms. Perry developed music programs for youth in cities throughout Indiana, including the Tri-County Youth Orchestra, the Ebony and Essence Chamber Orchestra, and currently the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra which was established in 1995.

Her many awards include The City of Indianapolis Mayor’s award for Excellence in Education, The Art Council of Indianapolis’ Creative Renewal Award, The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Emerging Young Leaders Award, Who’s Who in Black Indianapolis, the NUVO Cultural Vision Award, Indianapolis Center for Leadership Development Empowering Youth – Distinguished Achievement Award in the Arts, the National coalition of 100 Black Women of Indianapolis Chapter’s Breakthrough Award, Scott United Methodist’s Generation to Generation Award and the Indiana Youth Institute’s Youth Investment Award.

Ms. Perry and her program have been featured on “Across Indiana” and in several WFYI television productions in collaboration with the Arts Council of Indianapolis. She has also been featured in the Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Recorder, and numerous news broadcasts.