General Information

Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra normally auditions prospective members in April. 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.


Membership in Youth Orchestra includes:

  • At least four performance opportunities per year
  • Rehearsals led by conductor Omid Zoufonoun
  • Chamber Music Program, including ensembles of strings, winds, brass and percussion
  • Sectional rehearsals and masterclasses coached by professional performing musicians
  • International tours every 3 years
  • Concerto competition in early December, the winners to perform with the Youth Orchestra in spring concert


Rehearsals are on Sunday afternoons from 2 to 6pm at Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton.

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 operating budget. The 2024-25 season tuition is $1,800.

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.