Percussion Ensemble

Conductor: Todd Betz

The Percussion Ensemble performs on each PYS concert. The Ensemble, made of members of all the PYS groups, practices together each week after the ensemble rehearsals. They gain experience on a variety of percussion instruments. The group exposes young percussionists to a variety of styles of music and strives to prepare these musicians for any musical challenges they may face.


Prelude Strings *

Conductor: Brian Maurer

Ensemble Fee: $325

The Prelude Strings is the newest ensemble in the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestral Training Program.  2018-2019 was the inaugural season for the ensemble.   Eager string students, grades 1-5, will be auditioned for the new ensemble. The Prelude Strings ensemble rehearses weekly on Tuesday evenings in the northeast valley receiving additional string technique instruction and ensemble experience in a fun and inviting group setting. PrSofessional musicians are brought in periodically to coach sectionals.  Prelude Strings is a developmental ensemble for students to prepare them for musical advancement; giving them insight into the Phoenix Youth Symphony’s program.


String Orchestra

Conductor: Bethaney Cross

Ensemble Fee: $480

PYS String Orchestra accepts talented upper elementary and junior high students who show through audition they are ready for more advanced rehearsal and performance orchestral skills. Members learn to play with sensitivity and ensemble balance. Individual preparation of music is required. Professional musicians are brought in periodically to coach sectionals.

The PYS String Orchestra was selected to perform at the 1996 AMEA State Convention and has performed at the Phoenix Country Day School, the Phoenix Zoo, the Chandler Center for the Arts, the Festival of Trees at the Glendale Civic Center and in Washington D.C. The String Orchestra toured and performed in Chicago in March, 2007.


Wind Orchestra

(previously Symphonic Winds)

Conductor: Aaron Vogel

Ensemble Fee: $480

Wind Orchestra, primarily junior and senior high woodwind, brass and percussion students, helps members develop solo and ensemble skills and tone quality necessary for advanced symphonic band or orchestra. Limited enrollment allows for more individualized training, as well as performance opportunities. Chair auditions, judged by professional instrumentalists, recognize individual progress.  Prior performances include Patriots Park in Phoenix, Disneyland, and concert tours to San Francisco, the Heritage Festival in British Columbia, and Montreal, Canada. Season plans include sectionals and a weekend retreat. They have opened for the Phoenix Symphony Pops Concert, sponsored by the West Valley Arts Council, since 2005.


Philharmonic Orchestra

(previously Symphonette Orchestra)

Conductor: Dr. Walter Temme

Ensemble Fee: $525

Philharmonic Orchestra  is a full symphonic orchestra composed of over 100 junior and senior high musicians whose auditions show musicality and advanced technical skills. Providing a concentrated learning and performing experience for aspiring young musicians, Philharmonic Orchestra performs increasingly challenging classical repertoire throughout the year. Members of the Philharmonic Orchestra are exposed to the best of classical music to foster a professional attitude. Individual progress is expected and recognized through chair auditions and Principal solos.  Professional musicians are brought in periodically to coach sectionals. Philharmonic Orchestra has performed throughout the state, including the SW Youth Orchestra Festival at NAU in Flagstaff, the AMEA convention and in California, Germany, England, China, Austria and the Czech Republic.


Chamber Winds

Conductor: Aaron Vogel

Fee: no additional fee

Chamber Winds is our new elite ensemble for winds and percussionists. The ensemble is comprised of select members of Symphonette Orchestra’s wind/percussion sections and select members of Symphonic Winds, based on conductor recommendation.  Members will experience playing literature at the highest level.  This setting, unlike any other in Arizona, will enable interested students an opportunity to deepen their proficiency and leadership in musical performance.  Additionally, the small ensemble configuration will encourage each individual to explore soloistic playing in an ensemble setting.


Symphony Orchestra

(formerly Youth Symphony)

Conductor: Matthew Kasper

Ensemble Fee: $595

Symphony Orchestra is the most advanced group in the PYS Orchestral Training Program. Accepted by audition, members are experienced, exceptionally talented, dedicated high school student musicians. Symphony Orchestra requires personal commitment and ensemble skills; individual preparation and progress are expected and recognized through periodic chair auditions and Principal solos. Symphony Orchestra performs professional orchestral repertoire in PYS concerts and for over 10,000 students annually through Music Memory Concerts.

The Phoenix Youth Symphony Board of Directors has approved a policy that allows students up to the age of 20 to participate in the Symphony Orchestra beginning with the 2020-2021 season.  This policy is for the Symphony Orchestra only, and a student must be no older than 20 years old on September 1, 2020 to be eligible. 

A unique opportunity for members of PYS is rehearsing and performing “side-by-side” with The Phoenix Symphony. In previous years the Symphony Orchestra has performed throughout Arizona, in Carnegie Hall, and in Germany, France, New Zealand, Central Europe, British Isles, China and Italy.

All ensembles (except Prelude Strings) rehearse on Wednesday evenings at Central High School (4525 N. Central, Phoenix)
String Orchestra, Wind Orchestra – 6:30-8:30 pm
Philharmonic Orchestra – 6:30-9:00 pm
Chamber Winds -TBD
Symphony Orchestra – 6:30-9:15 PM

* Prelude Strings rehearses on Tuesday evenings from 6:00-7:45 pm at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church (4455 E Lincoln Dr, Paradise Valley)  

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