About Our Orchestras
The Minnesota Youth Symphonies (MYS) orchestral training program is modeled after the best music conservatories in the world with the goal of educating the whole musician. The orchestras perform 3 major concerts each season at prominent concert venues in the Twin Cities for audiences of over 4,000 classical music patrons, family and friends annually.
All five MYS orchestras rehearse at Highland Park Middle School (975 Snelling Ave S, St. Paul) on Saturday mornings September through April.
This video, recorded in May 2022, features all five MYS orchestras. It illustrates the progression of MYS students by age and skill level through our five orchestras. Read on below to hear more about each orchestra!
Symphony Orchestra (collegiate level)
Conducted by Mark Mandarano
Literature includes works with artistic challenges for the collegiate-level player. Sectionals explore, in-depth, the interpretive and more complex aspects of orchestral music. Students in this orchestra also spend time sight-reading orchestral literature at each rehearsal. Compositions are commissioned and premiered. The annual Symphony Solo Competition, open only to students in this orchestra, features the winning soloist in concert with the Symphony Orchestra. String seating is rotated each trimester. Brass, woodwind and percussion usually rotate from piece to piece.
Repertory Orchestra (advanced level)
Conducted by Dr. Ruth Lin
This full orchestra is for the advanced player. A broad mix of unedited literature challenges students as they refine advanced playing techniques in sectionals and full rehearsal. Sight-reading sessions are also included in this orchestra. String seating is rotated each trimester. Brass, woodwind and percussion seating usually rotate from piece to piece.
Philharmonic Orchestra (advanced intermediate level)
Conducted by Jim Bartsch
This full orchestra includes all instruments. Literature is a combination of arranged and unedited works designed to expose students to a diverse selection of orchestral music. Rehearsal include separate sectionals for strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion to work out problems specific to their instrument and explore the musical nuances that enhance the overall orchestration. String seating is rotated each trimester; brass, woodwind and percussion rotate from piece to piece.
String Orchestra (intermediate level)
Conducted by Patricia Kelly
The String Orchestra provides intermediate string players with a comprehensive ensemble experience. The Saturday String rehearsal includes theory and ear-training lessons. Literature is selected to broaden repertoire and learn more advanced techniques of following a conductor. Specific bowing techniques, such as spiccato, martelé, hooked bowings and legato, are included. Orchestral intonation is also covered. Students learn to work through difficult passages specific to their instrument.
Wind Orchestra (intermediate level)
Conducted by Nicholas Ellison
The Wind Orchestra provides intermediate wind, brass, percussion players with an orchestra introduction and training ensemble. The Saturday Wind rehearsal includes theory and ear-training lessons. A main focus of the group is learning orchestral intonation and techniques for following a conductor. They will develop confidence and artistry through their first orchestral experience.