PYSO Wind Orchestra and Symphonic Winds are back for the 2022-23 season! This ensemble combines our talented high school and junior high students from schools across the Valley into a symphonic wind ensemble. Weekly rehearsals are led by the Wind Orchestra conductor. Sectionals and chair auditions are held once per concert cycle, and are led by professional musicians from the Phoenix Symphony, college music professors, and local secondary music educators. Season plans also include a weekend retreat. As part of the ‘stair-step’ process of PYSO, the Wind Orchestra and Symphonic Winds are intended for students as they progress through their musical, instrumental and ensemble skills. It is the intent of the program for older students to progress into Philharmonic or Symphony Orchestra.

Wind Orchestra and Symphonic Winds have been combined for the 2022-2023 Season.


High School and Middle School

Ensemble Fee

$635 (As of August 2022. Subject to change for 2023-2024 season.)


Wednesday evenings, 6:30-8:30 PM

Central High School
4525 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012


Aaron Vogel

Ensemble Music Level of Difficulty

Performs literature from levels 2-4. Music includes works by composers such as: Balmages, Grainger, Hazo, Smith, Sparke, Ticheli, Van de Roost.

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Audition Components


Unaccompanied Solo of your choice. Please perform a total of 3:00 minutes of music from the work. Include both fast and slow passages and show advanced techniques. Please bring three copies of your notated music for the solo to your audition.


2 major scales of the student’s choice – 1 tongued and 1 slurred*
Full range chromatic scale – slurred**

*Harder scales will receive a higher score than easier ones. However, a well-played scale, no matter the difficulty, is best.

**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.

Sight reading

Sight reading material will consist of one or two short selections, selected by the adjudicators. 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!!


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Aaron Vogel

Aaron Vogel

Conductor, Wind Orchestra/Chamber Winds

Aaron Vogel is currently in his 21st year of teaching and serves as the Director of Instrumental Music at Mountain Ridge High School and High School Band Lead for the Deer Valley Unified School District. He is the Conductor for the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Wind Orchestra (Wind Orchestra and Symphonic Winds combined for 2022-2023 season). He is a Recording Academy® GRAMMY Music Educator Award Quarterfinalist and a recipient of the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association and the O.M. Hartsell Excellence in Teaching Award from the Arizona Music Educators Association.

Recent honors at Mountain Ridge include the Saxophone Quartet’s performance at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, IL in December 2021, the Wind Ensemble’s performance at the 2020 Arizona Music Educators Conference, and their performance as a Featured Band at the 2019 Music for All National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, IN. The Mountain Ridge Pride of the West Marching Band has consistently qualified for the ABODA State Marching Band Championships and concluded the 2019 competitive season as the ABODA Division 1 Arizona State Marching Band Champions and the AzMBA State Champions in Class 4A. In 2017-18 and 2018-19 the Mountain Ridge Band Program received the ABODA  “William E. Richardson Program of Distinction Award” recognizing superior achievement in all areas of the program.

Prior to his appointment at Mountain Ridge, Aaron was the Director of Bands at Westwood High School in Mesa, Arizona, and taught in public schools in Colorado and North Carolina.

Ensembles under his direction have received multiple accolades for excellence in performance including consistent Superior and Superior with Distinction ratings at Area and State Festivals, the National Programs of Excellence Blue Ribbon Award from the National Band Association, and four State Marching Band Championships in 2019, 2013, 2012 and 2009. Featured performances include the 2021 Midwest Clinic, the 2019 and 2012 Music for All National Concert Band Festival, the 2014 Taoyuan, Taiwan International Band Festival, the 2010 Western International Band Clinic, and three Music Educators Conference Honor Band performances in 2020, 2011 and 2010.

Outside of his work in the public schools, Aaron serves as a conductor for the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras and as a Board Member for the Arizona Marching Band Association. He has been actively involved in the state and national levels of the marching activity as an instructional staff member for The Cadets, The Cavaliers and the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps. As a performer, he was an original cast member in the Tony and Emmy award-winning production of Blast! in London’s West End and a marching member of the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps.

Aaron received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education magna cum laude from Ithaca College, and a Masters in Music Education and Wind Conducting from the University of Colorado Boulder, where he studied conducting with Allan McMurray and was a Graduate Teaching Assistant.

Aaron lives in Phoenix with his wife Becky, daughter Abigail and son Aiden. He is a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Entrance Audition Application

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Have any questions?

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