Symphony Orchestra is the most advanced group in the PYSO Orchestral Training Program. Accepted by audition, members are experienced, exceptionally talented, dedicated young adult (up to age 20) 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.

A unique opportunity for members of PYSO 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.

Grades

High school

The Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras 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. 

Ensemble Fee

$595

Rehearsals

Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:15 PM
Central High School (4525 N. Central, Phoenix)

Current Chamber Music Program rehearsal location:
Open Door Fellowship Church
8301 N 19th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85021

Conductor

Matthew Kasper

2020-2021 New Age Extension Policy – The Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras Board of Directors has approved a policy that allows students up to the age of 20 to participate in the Symphony Orchestra.  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. 

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.

Audition Components

Solo

Unaccompanied solo work or movement of a sonata or concerto of student’s choice.  Include both fast and slow passages and show advanced techniques. Please perform a total of 3:00 minutes of music from the work.

Scales

Specific scales to perform for the audition will be emailed shortly before your audition..

  • Strings –  Prepare all Major and Melodic Minor scales three octave.
  • Winds and Brass – Prepare all Major and Melodic Minor scales (2 octaves when possible) and chromatic scale covering entire range of instrument. You may perform as many octaves as you are able on both the scales and the chromatic.

A greater range will receive a higher difficulty score. However, a well-played scale, no matter the difficulty, is best.

Orchestral Excerpt

WE STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU LISTEN TO RECORDING OF THE ORCHESTRAL WORKS THAT YOU ARE REQUIRED TO PREPARE.  

Should you feel the excerpts are above your abilities and have already signed up to audition for Symphony Orchestra, please contact Todd Betz to change your first group preference. Please be aware that this will likely change the time of your audition, so contact Todd Betz as soon as possible.

Download Excerpts

Full Excerpt List

Download and print the Youth Symphony excerpt list for 2020-2021 Auditions.

Violin

2 excerpts – Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique Movement I: Beginning to [2] Movement I: measure after [4] to [5]

Viola

Tchaik., Symphony No. 6 Movement I: mm. 19-79

Cello

Smetana, Bartered Bride Overture: Beginning to 5 measures after [A]

Bass

Berlioz, Symphonie Fanatastique Movement III: mm. 83-111

Flute

Debussy, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun Beginning to [3]

Oboe

2 Excerpts – Strauss, Don Juan 3 measures after [L] to 2 measures after [N] 5 measures before [I] to [K]

Clarinet in A

2 excerpts – Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 6 Movement I: mm. 54-80 Movement I: mm. 106-129

Bassoon

Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique Movement IV: 2 measures before [52] to [53]

Horn

2 Excerpts – Strauss, Don Juan Strauss – Horn 1 – 17 measures before [O] to [P] Mahler – Horn 4 in F – Movement III: 3 measures after [13] to [15]

Trumpet (cornet)

Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique Cornet – Movement II: 7 before 31-35

Trombone

2 excerpts – Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique and Schumann No.3 Schumann -Trombone 1 – Movement IV: mm 1-23 Berlioz – Trombone 1 – Movement V: 5 measures after [85] to end

Tuba

Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique Movement IV: [56] to 3 measures after [58]

Sight-Reading

The audition will end with short sight-reading passage provided by the conductor.

Don’t neglect practicing sight reading pieces you are unfamiliar with to help prepare for this part of the audition.

Best of luck in your preparation, always start slow and work with a metronome!!

Questions?

Contact: Todd Betz  opsmanager@pysorchestras.org

View our stars in concert!

Music Memory Concert for Schools

Date and time to be determined

Featuring the Symphony Orchestra – under the direction of Matthew Kasper. Concerts are free to elementary school students, but reservations are required by school or homeschool group.

Learn More

Teacher Appreciation Concert

February 28, 2021 3:00 pm

This special concert recognizes the instrumental music teachers of PYS musicians. Featuring: PYS Percussion Ensemble, Prelude Strings, String Orchestra, Wind Orchestra, Chamber Winds and Philharmonic Orchestra.

Learn More

2:00 pm – Percussion Ensemble, Prelude Strings, Wind Orchestra and String Orchestra. 6:30 pm – Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra

Learn More

Matthew Kasper

Matthew Kasper

Artistic and General Director

American conductor Matthew Kasper currently serves as Resident Conductor of The Phoenix Symphony and Artistic Director of The Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras. Past posts have included Music Director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Chicago Composers Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Queens Symphony Orchestra and he served on the faculty of the Aaron Copland School of Music.

In his fifth season with The Phoenix Symphony, Matthew has proven a wide-range of ability leading Classics, Pops, SFTS, Chamber and other programs during his tenure. This success led to his promotion from Assistant to Resident Conductor in the 2018-19 season. This season Matthew will led over thirty-five performances including multiple Pops and education programs as well as his debut conducting Handel’s Messiah. He will also be on stage to lead the return of Troupe Vertigo in Prokofiev’s Cinderella, the annual Side-by-Side with The Phoenix Youth Symphony and in the symphony’s new Scottsdale Series featuring the music of Mendelssohn and Schumann.

In demand as a guest conductor, Matthew has conducted extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia. Recent seasons included successful debuts with the Rochester Philharmonic, the Tucson Symphony and the Evergreen (Taiwan) Symphonies. Matthew has also appeared with the Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Lorraine, Opera National de Lorraine, Queens Symphony Orchestra, The Phoenix Symphony and the Salt River Ballet. Matthew has served as cover conductor for The Cleveland Orchestra, The San Diego Symphony, The Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Musicfest and the Queens Symphony.

Equally at home in symphonic and operatic repertoire, Matthew made his European debut with the Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy in 2014 and also served as an assistant conductor for the Opera National de Lorraine where he prepared the internationally acclaimed staged premiere of Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest. He was immediately re-engaged for productions of Bernstein’s Candide and Britten’s Owen Wingrave. 2013 also marked Matthew’s debut with the Queens Symphony Orchestra, which subsequently let to him being named Interim Music Director for the 2015 season.

As Artistic Director of the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras, Matthew has been a driving force to expand the orchestra’s season and footprint in the community. He has been instrumental in cultivating relationships with other arts organizations in Phoenix including forming an assistant conductor program with the Arizona State University School of Music, serving as a partner organization for the Arizona Piano Institute and collaborating with the Ballet Arizona school for educations programs and full length ballet performances with The Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras.

An avid music educator, Matthew served as an adjunct faculty member of conducting staff at the Aaron Copland School of Music from 2011-2014, where taught conducting classes and conducted the orchestra in performances of symphonic, musical theater and opera performances. With The Phoenix Symphony Matthew conducts the orchestra’s educational and family concerts, reaching over 15,000 children annually.

Trained as a violinist, Matthew is a former member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra where he performed under illustrious conductors such as Bernard Haitink and Esa-Pekka Salonen. He holds degrees in violin performance from Queens College and the Chicago College of Performing Arts where his principal teachers were Burton Kaplan and Shmuel Ashkenasi. Matthew holds a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from Queens College where he was a student of Maurice Peress. He received additional training at the prestigious Pierre Monteux School for Conductors as a Quimby Family Foundation Fellow where he studied with Michael Jinbo.

Originally from Madison Wisconsin, Matthew currently resides in Phoenix with his wife Rebecca, son Theodore and daughters Fiona and Magnolia.