General Information

Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra normally auditions prospective members in June. We will hear additional candidates in late August, and from time to time as needed. Please check our auditions requirements and fill out an Audition Application Form.

Youth Orchestra horn playerMembership in the Youth Orchestra is open to highly qualified players of orchestral instruments from Bay Area schools. Generally, students are between the ages of 11 and 22 years, but exceptional younger students may also be admitted. Members are selected on the basis of an audition. Students are required to participate in school music programs when available and should also be receiving private instrument instruction.

Learning professional responsibility is an important part of the Youth Orchestra’s program for musical excellence. Members are required to prepare, to arrive promptly, and to attend all rehearsals. Seating is generally rotational.

Benefits

Membership in Youth Orchestra includes:

  • At least four performance opportunities per year
  • Rehearsals led by conductors Omid Zoufonoun and Michael Morgan
  • Sectional rehearsals and masterclasses coached by professional performing musicians
  • Chamber Music Program, including ensembles of strings, winds, brass and percussion
  • Concerto competition in November, the winners to perform with the Youth Orchestra in spring concert

Rehearsals

Rehearsals are on Sunday afternoons from 2 to 6pm at Oakland School for the Arts.

*Due to COVID-19 our rehearsal space at Oakland School for the Arts will be closed to public rentals in the Fall of 2020. Rehearsals will be conducted virtually with sectional coaches until OSYO can safely return to in-person rehearsals. 

Parents’ Obligations

Parents’ obligations include helping students fulfill their musical responsibilities to the Orchestra by encouraging at-home practice, 100% attendance, and promptness and courtesy at all times. Each Youth Orchestra family will be asked for volunteer activities, donating 10 hours each year in Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra’s parent committees. Finally, parents are expected to participate in Youth Orchestra fund-raising activities.

Annual Cost

Tuition in full (or completed financial aid application) is due upon acceptance, and tuition is not refundable. Tuition fees include our mandatory retreat. Note that tuition covers only about 35% of our budget. The 2020-2021 tuition is $1,400 with an early payment incentive.

Financial Assistance

No qualified musician will be excluded because of financial need. Financial assistance is available and can be in the form of outright scholarship grants, deferred payment plans, or fund-raising opportunities. If you are a returning musician who has received assistance in the past, you must re-apply.