Ensembles dedicated to students at every level
The Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra consists of three full orchestras, two string orchestras, a jazz ensemble, and a percussion ensemble, and several chamber groups. With over 370 students participating, each ensemble is designed to meet the needs of students at varying levels of experience. Whether a student just started playing in their school orchestra, or is preparing to audition for a conservatory, GYSO provides opportunities to both challenge and enrich our musicians.
Perform in Multiple Ensembles
GYSO offers the opportunity to perform with multiple ensembles at a discounted rate. Traditionally this has included orchestra/jazz students, orchestra/chorus, and more. Performing in multiple ensembles requires passing the requisite audition for those groups.
Adding on an orchestral or jazz ensemble or GYSO Chorus is available for an add-on fee plus the regular full tuition rate.
GYSO Chorus focuses on the technical and artistic development of young singers to supplement traditional classroom activities. In addition to providing training through quality choral repertoire, the program also offers students opportunities to hone skills crucial to advanced vocal development: aural skills, music literacy and theory, introductory IPA, and sight-singing.
Youth chorus members have the unique opportunity to participate in distinguished performances. These include both stand-alone concerts and also select participation with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra Chorus and in Masterworks and Pops performances with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra. The eligible age range for the youth chorus is rising 6th graders through 12th grade.
• GYSO Chorus rehearses at the Marietta Performing Arts Center on Sundays, 3:30-5:00PM
The Jazz Ensemble performs both educational works and well-known arrangements by jazz legends in a wide variety of jazz styles.
Members also have opportunities to perform in a combo setting. The instrumentation is a standard big band (saxes, trumpets, trombones, guitar, piano, bass, and drums).
• GYSO Jazz Ensemble rehearses in KSU's Brandsmart Building on Busbee Pkwy. Wednesdays from 5:30-7:00 PM.
The Percussion Ensemble provides advanced high school and middle school percussionists with the opportunity to develop and improve ensemble skills on a wide variety of instruments under the guidance of John Lawless.
In addition to performing works from the published percussion ensemble repertoire, students also have the opportunity to write works for the ensemble. Our percussionists also gain expanded knowledge and performance experience of orchestral repertoire by performing with up to two orchestras.
• Percussion ensemble rehearses at KSU's Bailey Performance Center on Sunday from 1:00-2:30 PM
• Orchestras rehearse at KSU's Bailey Performance Center on Sunday from 2:30-5:00PM or 3:00-5:30PM.
• There is no additional tuition fee for playing in Orchestras as a member of percussion ensemble.
The Flute Choir provides an opportunity for students to expand their knowledge of flute performance techniques and skills in a flute choir setting.
• Flute Choir performs 2-3 concerts per season.
• Flute Choir is subject to a minimum enrollment.
• Flute Choir rehearses at KSU's Bailey Performance Center on Sunday from 5:30-6:30PM.
The Clarinet Choir provides an opportunity for students to expand their knowledge of clarinet performance techniques and skills in a clarinet choir setting.
• Clarinet Choir performs 2-3 concerts per season.
• Clarinet Choir is subject to a minimum enrollment.
• Clarinet Choir rehearses at KSU's Bailey Performance Center on Sunday from 1:00-2:00PM.
Available only to students who have passed the Symphony audition and performing in the Symphony or Philharmonic, String Symposium is a chamber ensemble that focuses on mastery of both technical and performance skills. This program specifically targets our advanced string players and utilizes rich repertoire to challenge even the most proficient players.
• String Symposium performs 2-3 concerts per season.
• String Symposium rehearses at KSU's Bailey Performance Center on Sunday from 5:30-6:30 PM.
• String Symposium is subject to a minimum enrollment.
Students are selected for honors ensembles based on audition scores from a successful Symphony audition (while performing with the Symphony or Philharmonic) and often possess character traits such as: leadership qualities, dependability, and perseverance.
Placement for these ensembles occurs twice a year: following GYSO’s initial auditions in May, and then a second round of auditions follows in December. Students in honors ensembles are not guaranteed a spot for the entire year.
Honors ensembles allow students to work closely with coaches to perform artistically challenging works and develop precise rehearsal and performance techniques in a small group setting.
• Honors String Quartet performs 2-4 concerts per season.
• Honors Brass Quintet performs 2-4 concerts per season.
• Honors String Quartet rehearses at KSU's Wilson Annex on Sunday from 1:00-2:15PM.
• Honors Brass Quintet rehearses at KSU's Wilson Annex on Sunday from 5:15PM-6:30PM.
Concertino is the beginning string ensemble, designed to build foundations for successful musicianship. Students typically have 1-2 years playing experience in various school or preparatory programs (ex. Suzuki). Concertino focuses on the fundamentals required for music reading, rhythms, playing positions, and understanding ensemble performance.
Concertino performs educational works and transcriptions for string orchestra, as well as preparatory exercises required for beginning mastery of string fundamentals.
Students are generally playing 1 octave scales and solos from Suzuki books 1 and 2 or similar experience.
•Concertino performs 2-3 concerts per season.
•Concertino rehearses at the Marietta Performing Arts Center on Sunday from 3:30-5:00PM
Harmonia is the intermediate-advanced string ensemble. Students typically have 2-3 years of playing experience in both a solo and group setting. Rehearsals focus on continuing mastery of fundamental string techniques, more complex rhythms, and increased level of difficulty in music.
Students are generally playing 1-2 octave scales and solos from Suzuki books 2 and 3. First violins may play in 3rd position.
•Harmonia performs 3 concerts per season.
•Harmonia rehearses at the Marietta Performing Arts Center on Sunday from 1:30-3:00PM
Camerata is the first full symphonic ensemble and consists of strings, winds, and brass. This full orchestra introduces aspects of performing larger-scale repertoire consisting of both educational works and also arrangements of larger standard classical works. For most students, this will be their first experience playing in a full symphony. And as such, this ensemble rehearses strings and winds separate for the first half of rehearsal to focus on instrument-specific music making, and then for the second half all instruments join together. Students will be exposed to the different instrument families first hand and will be able to experience the excitement as well as be able to acclimate to the differences of playing in a full orchestra.
Camerata strings are generally playing 2 or 3 octave scales (up to 5th position) and solos from Suzuki books 3 and 4. They are starting to establish vibrato. Camerata winds are generally comfortable in keys from 4 flats to 2 sharps, know the difference between concert and written pitch, and can play a two-octave chromatic scale. Camerata brass are also generally comfortable in keys from 4 flats to 2 sharps, know the difference between concert and written pitch, and are developing their two-octave chromatic scale.
• Camerata performs 3-4 concerts per season.
• Camerata rehearses at the Marietta Performing Arts Center on Sunday from 1:00-3:00PM
The Philharmonic performs compositions by master composers and advanced educational pieces for full symphonic orchestra. Recent performances have included works of Tchaikovsky, Vaughan Williams, Bizet, Grieg, Mussorgsky, and Bernstein.
Philharmonic strings are generally playing 2 or 3 octave scales, are comfortable in first through fifth position and have familiarity up to seventh position. They use vibrato consistently and have facility with some off-the-string bow techniques.
Winds are comfortable in all major keys and can play a full-register chromatic scale. Trumpets and horns are starting to learn some of the most common transpositions. Violas, cellos, bassoons and trombones are developing familiarity in alternate clefs. Some woodwinds can play auxiliary instruments.
• Philharmonic students are eligible to participate in Flute Choir as an add-on ensemble.
• Philharmonic students who have passed the Symphony audition are eligible for promotion to Symphony during the season if an opening occurs and are also eligible for String Symposium, Honors String Quartet and Honors Brass Quintet, and for the GYSO Concerto Competition.
• Philharmonic performs 4 concerts per season.
• Philharmonic rehearses at KSU’s Bailey Performance Center on Sunday from 3:00-5:30PM.
The Symphony is the most advanced orchestral ensemble in the GYSO program and performs masterworks from the orchestral canon, as well as contemporary compositions and pops literature. Performances have included works of Stravinsky, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Beethoven, and Mahler.
Symphony has also performed choral-orchestral masterworks with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and performed with the hip-hop crossover duo Black Violin to a sold out Atlanta Symphony Hall audience. In the Spring of 2019, GYSO’s Symphony performed as a featured ensemble at the Georgia Music Educators Association annual conference.
Symphony strings are generally playing 3 octave scales in all major and minor keys and solos from the standard concerto and sonata repertoire. They possess a controlled and varied vibrato and can produce a wide variety of bow strokes both on and off the string. Violas, cellos, bassoons and trombones are familiar with alternate clefs.
Winds are comfortable in all major and minor keys and can play a full-register chromatic scale. Horns and trumpets are able to play (though perhaps not sight-read) all transpositions. Most woodwinds are comfortable with at least one auxiliary instrument.
A Note From the Directors:
As the most advanced orchestral ensemble in GYSO, placement into Symphony is necessarily different than any other ensemble. Direct placement into Symphony is only available via our initial auditions in May. During the year, if an opening occurs in Symphony, placement is only possible through promotion from GYSO’s Philharmonic. There is no external wait list for Symphony.
Students who wish to be considered for Symphony at any point in the season are welcome to register for a Symphony audition. Upon completing a successful Symphony audition, they must perform with the Philharmonic until an opening occurs in Symphony. Successfully passing the Symphony audition does not guarantee placement in Symphony as we have no way to anticipate openings during the season.
Additionally, please note that a successful audition for Symphony in May might result in placement in Philharmonic due to a fully occupied section in Symphony. Subsequently, the same process of promotion described above will apply.
• Symphony members are eligible for the GYSO Concerto Competition, Honors String Quartet, Honors Brass Quintet, String Symposium, and Flute Choir. (Students who have passed the Symphony audition but are performing with the Philharmonic are also eligible for all programs listed here.)
• Symphony performs 4-5 concerts per season.
• GYSO Symphony rehearses at KSU's Bailey Performance Center on Sunday from 2:30-5:00 PM.