Youth Orchestra Program

While we are eager to return to in-person learning and large group ensembles, we must balance that with the new realities with which we are faced.  Given current virus trends and our commitment to your personal and individual safety, Sarasota Youth Orchestras rehearsals will be deferred until at least January 2021.  In October, we will re-assess virus trends and evaluate the best available public health data.  If we are able to restart the program in January, we will notify students about auditions at least 30 days before they are scheduled.

We are currently exploring a curriculum of virtual and educational content to help us bridge this period where we cannot perform together.

If you participated in the Music Moves Us: Education Edition or would like to offer suggestions for possible virtual content, please click here

Prior participation in our digital programming is not necessary to complete this survey. 

New Students

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Playing With Promise

The Sarasota Orchestra's Youth Orchestra Program has been hailed as one of the most exemplary youth programs in the Southeast. The nationally acclaimed artistic staff, conductors and coaches have created a learning experience for the young musician that is unparalleled in our community.

Whether striving to be a professional musician or fostering a lifelong love of music, students through the Sarasota Youth Orchestras realize and advance their vision. Participants stay in each ensemble for an average of two years. They master the skills and techniques of musical playing in addition to developing self motivation, leadership and personal growth. All ensembles are coached by members of the Sarasota Orchestra and the String Ensembles may also participate in a musicianship class to develop inner rhythm and style.

Youth Orchestra Ensembles

The Sarasota Orchestra Youth Program consists of seven orchestras, affording students the opportunity to participate in an ensemble comparable to their skill level.

Explore our Ensembles

Youth Orchestra Faculty

All faculty members are experienced musicians with excellent credentials and a strong commitment to teaching. Our instructors mentor each student’s unique needs and goals through both individual and group programs.

Met our Faculty


Any student who plays an orchestral instrument and is in the third grade or higher may audition for placement in the Sarasota Youth Orchestra Program.

Audition Information

“Youth Orchestra is one of the highlights of my week!”

The Youth Orchestra program has taught thousands of young people to become better musicians. Many become performers with the Sarasota Orchestra or major symphony orchestras throughout the country.

Seven different orchestras rehearse weekly from September through April. Students progress through the program from string ensembles up to full orchestras. Auditions are held every year.

Youth Orchestra Concert Schedule

The Youth Orchestra Ensembles

For sixty years, the Sarasota Youth Orchestras have been providing young musicians of Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties with musical instruction, unique performing opportunities and the chance to study and perform classical music with their peers. Each of the eight ensembles performs three concerts a year, culminating in a final Spring Showcase performance.

TUESDAYS 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

  • Chamber Strings – Ages 8-14, with 1 year of experience or completed our Summer Music Camp.
  • Divertimento Strings – Ages 8-14, with 1-3 years of experience, developing first position.
  • Camerata Strings – Ages 8-14, with 2-3 years of experience, fluent in first position, starting third position.
  • Intermezzo Strings – Ages 10-17, with 3 or more years of experience, continuing to develop first and third positions through keys of 3 sharps / 3 flats.
  • Symphonic Strings – Ages 10-17, with 3 or more years of experience, fluent in first and third positions, developing extended positions. Refining dynamic and articulation skills.

MONDAYS 5:15 PM - 7:45 PM

  • Symphonic Winds – Ages 11-15, with 1-3 years of experience.
  • Youth Symphony – Ages 11-18, with more than 3 years of experience and the maturity to participate in a full orchestra. All students demonstrate solid technique. String students are developing extended positions.
  • Youth Philharmonic – Ages 13-19, comprised of advanced players whose technique level is highly proficient, who show strong musicality and musicianship and who are capable of the discipline necessary to perform at the highest level.

Apply Today!

School Participation Policy

The Sarasota Orchestra believes that school music programs are vital to the development of young musicians—educationally, artistically and socially. By participating in school music programs, young musicians can serve as role models, receive leadership training and share their talents with others. Participation in the Sarasota Youth Orchestras is designed to enhance, not replace, school music instruction. School music programs provide essential daily ensemble and rehearsal instruction required for serious musical progress. Students who enroll in the Youth Orchestra Program are required to participate in their school orchestra/band, if one exists. Please see our website for policy information.


Each participant in the Youth Orchestra program pays $305 tuition. This is in addition to the $25 application fee and is due upon invoice. The $305 tuition is only a fraction of the actual cost to Sarasota Orchestra per student. We are grateful to the Sarasota Orchestra Friends and the generosity of donors and granting organizations that help keep the costs to students reasonable.

Recruitment Incentive

Do you know a student that would enjoy being a part of our program? Help us spread the word and receive $20 off your tuition for each new student. Example: Talk with 5 new students that meet the requirements below and receive $100 off your tuition.


The Sarasota Orchestra is fortunate to be able to offer several types of scholarships. Through the generosity of many donors and numerous foundations, we are able to off-set tuition expenses. We also strongly believe in the benefit of private lessons and are able to help subsidize students’ lesson expenses. In addition, we offer scholarships for summer music camps and college music majors.

TUITION SCHOLARSHIPS: Need-based tuition scholarships are awarded to cover a portion of program cost (between 10% and 75%). Please include a letter of explanation. These letters can greatly help the committee with their decisions.

SIBLING SCHOLARSHIPS: The Sarasota Orchestra understands that many families have more than one child in our program. To help off-set these expenses, we offer a reduced tuition rate to families with more than one student participating in the Youth Orchestra Program. Often these are 50% scholarships. For example, $305 for the first child, $152.50 for each additional child. You must request this scholarship on
the application.

FELLOWSHIPS: Need-based FULL TUITION scholarships (excluding application fee) are awarded to families having a combined income of $24,000 or less. Note: applicants for a full tuition scholarship must provide full income disclosure (IRS 1040 Form, page one, front and back) and explanation of scholarship need. Full scholarships cannot be granted without this documentation.

PRIVATE LESSON SCHOLARSHIPS: These are awarded to Youth Orchestra participants to help defray a percentage of the cost of private lessons (38 lesson maximum Sept.-June).

Young Person's Concerts

Each year, a different program is developed and delivered to nearly 10,000 Manatee and Sarasota County fourth- and fifth-graders.

More Info

Summer Music Camp

School-aged children on summer break can maintain or gain musical skills during the Sarasota Orchestra’s summer program.

More Info

Young Artists Competition

Each year, up-and-coming young musicians from across the region compete for the opportunity to perform as soloists in a concert with the Orchestra.

More Info

Youth Orchestras

Sarasota Orchestra's Youth Orchestra Program has been hailed as one of the most exemplary youth programs in the Southeast.

More Info


Written byHerald Tribune

 Literally gripping the arms of my seat, I was not the only one propelled on this rollercoaster of delightful music.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 Every section and soloist within the orchestra played their role with strength and beauty; every tree proud and tall. Tali served as an excellent guide leading the forces with assured confidence. The overall sound was lush and, yes, intense just where it needed to be.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 The Sarasota Orchestra was brimming with bubbling energy...  

Written byHerald Tribune

 A lifetime of musical moments, cinematic in scope, gave every section of the orchestra a leading role at one time or another. Chief among them was the virtuosic solo of concertmaster Daniel Jordan.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 It was a thrill ride resulting in an explosion of audience enthusiasm.  

Written byThe Observer

 Andrew Lane, the Orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, knows how to program a winning event and this concert had something for everyone. It also brought in a whole new audience that seemed dazzled by the performances.  

Written byThe Observer

 The Sarasota Orchestra played a program this past weekend filled with so much color, it was like visiting the Louvre.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 The performance... was exceptional, bringing new and stunning sonorities from a larger than usual Sarasota Orchestra under the dynamic leadership of Anu Tali.  

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Annual Fund

Gifts to the Annual Fund help sustain Sarasota Orchestra and ensure that our musicians can continue to serve our community in the months ahead. Please join our Sarasota Orchestra family by making a gift today, and help us share the healing power of music.

About Us

Our mission is to engage, educate, and enrich our community through high-quality, live musical experiences.

 709 N Tamiami Tr, Sarasota, FL 34236

 Box Office: 941.953.3434

 Administration: 941.953.4252

 Box Office Hours:
Monday-Friday, 10am - 4pm

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