Entrance Audition Information

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Round 1 (May) Audition Dates

Auditions will be in-person for the May Round (1) of PYSO Auditions

April 6, 2024 – Excerpts will be uploaded for Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestra

May 4, 2024 – Deadline for all applications to be submitted.

May 11, 2024 – Scales sent out to String Orchestra applicants. These will be sent to those that choose String Orchestra as the highest ensemble they are interested in joining. All other ensembles have their scales currently posted on their ensemble page under Ensemble Requirements.

May 11, 2024 – Audition Day schedules sent out to all applicants. Auditions will be broken up by instrument and the ensemble selected. Please keep the entire day and time frame available for the highest ensemble you’ve selected. If the student is not accepted into the ensemble of their choice, they will automatically be considered for additional ensembles and placed into the best ensemble to be successful.

May 18, 2024 – Audition Day (Location: Mountain View High School): Specific groups to be determined.
*Arrival times for each applicant will be sent on May 11, 2024 via email. Please visit our Contact page and choose Auditions to submit a message if you have any conflicts between 8:30a-5:30p on this audition day before May 5, 2024 if you did not put the information on your Audition Application initially.

May 19, 2024 – Audition Day (Location: Mountain View High School): Specific groups to be determined.
*Arrival times for each applicant will be sent on May 11, 2024 via email. Please visit our Contact page and choose Auditions to submit a message if you have any conflicts between 8:30a-5:30p on this audition day before May 5, 2024 if you did not put the information on your Audition Application initially.

Second Week of June – Audition results and ensemble assignments will be sent out to those who auditioned.

A Second Round of auditions will take place in August prior to the start of the season. Dates are yet to be determined, but will be selected in mid-June.

We are grateful you are interested in PYSO and encourage you to tell your musical friends about our ongoing auditions through your social media, texting, and email.

Who Can Audition

The Entrance Audition Application is for new members joining PYSO and for existing members who wish to audition to change ensembles. Current PYSO students wanting to remain in their current ensemble should complete the Renewal Application in the Musician Portal.

Audition Fee

Non-refundable audition fee – $35

What will be on the audition?

Audition requirements are different for each ensemble. Choose the PYSO Ensembles link to the left to learn more about each ensemble. Please choose the highest ensemble you’d like to be considered for in your application. Please prepare your audition based on this ensemble only. If the student is not accepted into the ensemble of their choice, they will automatically be considered for additional ensembles and placed into the best ensemble to be successful. 

Questions? Check out or Audition FAQ or visit our Contact page and choose “Auditions“.

About Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras

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Round 1 (May) Auditions

Auditions will be in-person for the May Round (1) of PYSO Auditions. Apply Now!

PYS Orchestras include two full symphonic orchestras, two string ensembles, one wind ensemble, and a percussion ensemble. Ensembles are ranked in order below. In order to determine which ensemble is right for you, please review the quick blurbs below and then the individual ensemble pages. The individual pages will outline the specific audition requirements.

  • Symphony Orchestra – Our most advanced full orchestra including experienced and exceptionally talented young adults up to age 20.
    Ensemble Music Level of Difficulty: Performs music from the standard professional orchestra literature, which will be considerably more difficult than the normal high school repertoire and on par or above the difficulty level of a standard college orchestra. Musicians auditioning for Symphony Orchestra should already be at a high level of playing ability on their respective instruments.
  • Philharmonic Orchestra – Full orchestra for students in junior and senior high school.
    Ensemble Music Level of Difficulty: Performs literature such as: Bizet L’Arlesienne Suite # 2, Berlioz Roman Carnival Overture, Saint-Saens Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah, and Dvorak Symphony #8.
  • Wind Orchestra – PYSO’s wind ensemble, designed for high school woodwind, brass and percussion students to explore challenging wind ensemble repertoire.
    Ensemble Music Level of Difficulty: Performs literature from levels 4-6. Music includes works by composers such as: Balmages, Grainger, Hazo, Holst, Reed, RW Smith, Sparke, Tichelli, Van de Roost.
  • String Orchestra – Strings students in middle school through high school (placement based on ability level).
    Ensemble Music Level of Difficulty: Performs literature mainly at levels 3-5.
  • Prelude Strings – Strings students in grades 1-8.
    Ensemble Music Level of Difficulty: Performs literature mainly at levels 1-3.
  • Percussion Ensemble – Made up of percussionists from the other ensembles.

Important: Auditions will be broken up by instrument and the ensemble selected as first choice.

If the student is not accepted into the ensemble of their choice, they will automatically be considered for additional ensembles and placed into the best ensemble to be successful.

Close to three hundred students participate in PYSO’s orchestral training program each year. Selected through a rigorous audition process, and invited to train with one of our ensembles, these young musicians enjoy weekly rehearsals led by world-class conductors, sectionals coached by professional musicians, weekend retreats and the opportunity to perform before thousands of audience members in the highest-quality venues throughout the Valley. PYS Orchestras have received local, national and international recognition for excellence and have performed throughout the world.

Learn About our Ensembles

Audition Frequently Asked Questions

Apply Now

Round 1 (May) Audition Dates

Auditions will be in-person for the May Round (1) of PYSO Auditions

April 6, 2024 – Excerpts will be uploaded for Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestra

May 4, 2024 – Deadline for all applications to be submitted.

May 11, 2024 – Scales sent out to String Orchestra applicants. These will be sent to those that choose String Orchestra as the highest ensemble they are interested in joining. All other ensembles have their scales currently posted on their ensemble page under Ensemble Requirements.

May 11, 2024 – Audition Day schedules sent out to all applicants. Auditions will be broken up by instrument and the ensemble selected. Please keep the entire day and time frame available for the highest ensemble you’ve selected. If the student is not accepted into the ensemble of their choice, they will automatically be considered for additional ensembles and placed into the best ensemble to be successful.

May 18, 2024 – Audition Day (Location: Mountain View High School): Specific groups to be determined.
*Arrival times for each applicant will be sent on May 11, 2024 via email. Please visit our Contact page and choose Auditions to submit a message if you have any conflicts between 8:30a-5:30p on this audition day before May 5, 2024 if you did not put the information on your Audition Application initially.

May 19, 2024 – Audition Day (Location: Mountain View High School): Specific groups to be determined.
*Arrival times for each applicant will be sent on May 11, 2024 via email. Please visit our Contact page and choose Auditions to submit a message if you have any conflicts between 8:30a-5:30p on this audition day before May 5, 2024 if you did not put the information on your Audition Application initially.

Second Week of June – Audition results and ensemble assignments will be sent out to those who auditioned.

A Second Round of auditions will take place in August prior to the start of the season. Dates are yet to be determined, but will be selected in mid-June.

We are grateful you are interested in PYSO and encourage you to tell your musical friends about our ongoing auditions through your social media, texting, and email.

Who can audition?

The Entrance Audition Application is for new members joining PYSO and for existing members who wish to audition to change ensembles.

Are auditions in-person or virtual?

You will be contacted with information about this after you submit your application.

What will be on the audition?

Audition requirements are different for each ensemble. Choose PYSO Ensembles to the left to learn more about each ensemble.

How will I know what scales to play in the audition?

The parameters given on the website are all that will be sent for Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic, and Wind Orchestra. String Orchestra will have their scales posted one day before the auditions.

Can I play multiple pieces filling up 3 minutes? Or should it be one long piece totaling 3 minutes?

Multiple short pieces under 3 min can be used instead of one 3 minute piece.

Does my music need to be memorized?

Your musical selections do not need to be memorized.

What is the audition fee?

Non-refundable audition fee – $35

What is the annual membership fee for each ensemble?

Each ensemble has a different fee. Visit the “About” page for each ensemble to learn the ensemble fees.

How do I know which ensemble is right for me?

It is important to us that students are placed in the appropriate ensemble where they are challenged but not overwhelmed. It is also important that students thrive not only in like musical ability but social structures as well (age and grade). We also encourage all students and parents to review the requirements for each ensemble by visiting the PYSO Ensembles page. The requirements reflect technical need by musicians to be successful in that ensemble. (ex. 3-octave scales are particularly important in most string auditions for the Symphony Orchestra).

Can I choose more than one ensemble?

YES! Please choose the highest ensemble you’d like to be considered for in your application. Please prepare your audition based on this ensemble only. If the student is not accepted into the ensemble of their choice, they will automatically be considered for additional ensembles and placed into the best ensemble to be successful. PLEASE NOTE- A second audition will not be required to be considered. If you were accepted into an ensemble lower than your first choice, you have the option to decline and audition again next year.

String musicians:

  • Auditioning for Symphony Orchestra will also be considered for Philharmonic Orchestra, followed by String Orchestra followed by Prelude Strings etc.

Winds, brass and Percussion musicians:

  • Auditioning for Symphony Orchestra will also be considered for Philharmonic Orchestra and Wind Orchestra.
I’m currently a PYSO student. Do I need to audition again?

Only if you want to move up to the next ensemble OR change instrument in the current ensemble. PYSO does encourage students to audition each year to continue working their way up the Orchestral Training ladder from the youngest ensembles to the most advanced ensemble. However, current PYSO students wanting to remain in their current ensemble next season should complete the Renewal Application in the Musician Portal and do not need to audition.

What should I wear to the audition?

The key is to always look professional. Avoid t-shirts, shorts, and beach sandals. Avoid bare shoulders; cellists should consider the fullness of skirts to allow for positioning for the cello. Practice at home in your audition clothes and the dress shoes you plan to audition in.

What should I bring to the audition?

Students should bring instrument and any related accessories and three copies of the music they are playing. The copies must have all measures numbered and any cuts clearly marked.

What are some things I can do to prepare for my audition?

Make sure your audition piece is well prepared. For a piece or excerpt, listen to several different recordings to get a feel for the tempo, phrasing, etc. Record yourself practicing (you can use your smartphone) and take notes listening to the playback. If you tend to get nervous, perform several times in front of your family. Play for your friends at school. If the audition requires you to play scales, ask your listeners to choose random scales for you to demonstrate. If you do not have someone listening, write the names of scales on small slips of paper and then draw them out of a hat. Scales for string players, practice finding the first note of the scale WITHOUT playing it.

Can I watch my student’s audition?

The audition room is closed to anyone other than the adjudicators and student musicians.

Will there be warm up time provided before the auditions?

Students should arrive prepared for their auditions. Students are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes early for their audition slot and are welcome to warm up in the lobby prior to auditions. There will be no private spaces available.