Youth Orchestra Ensembles

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

Students audition each year for a position in one of these orchestras. Each ensemble rehearses weekly, from September to April in the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center at 709 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.

Youth Philharmonic

Conducted by Robert Lambert
Ages 13-19

Comprised of outstanding players whose technical level is highly advanced, who show strong musicality and musicianship and who are capable of the discipline necessary to perform at the highest level. This ensemble is dedicated to performing the finest works in the full symphonic repertoire. In addition to the full orchestra rehearsals the students will work in sectionals with professional coaches who are among the finest performers and teachers in the area. Weekly rehearsals during the school year are carried out under professional standards. Members are expected to take private lessons and maintain leadership responsibilities in their school ensembles.

Rehearses Mondays 5:15-7:45 pm

Youth Symphony

Conducted by Christopher Allen
Ages 11-18

A full orchestra ensemble consisting of middle and high school students 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. Repertoire includes many standard masterworks expertly arranged for educational ensembles, as well as many original compositions and popular music straight from the movies. Basic technique and artistic vocabulary is reinforced during sectional rehearsals with professional coaches who are among the finest performers and teachers in the area. Youth Symphony provides an opportunity to continue developing the ensemble skills needed to advance to standard symphonic literature.

Rehearses Mondays 5:15-7:45 pm

Symphonic Winds

Conducted by Daniel Boyd
Ages 11-15

Made up of talented wind and percussion students with 1 to 3 years of experience. Rehearsals concentrate on performance standards, tone production, precision, musicality, individual and group style, and practice habits. Similar to a weekly honor band, this ensemble provides experience with literature, preparation, and performance that the students can take to their own band programs and exposes students to literature that they may not play in their school programs.

Rehearses Mondays 5:15-7:45 pm

Symphonic Strings

Conducted by Susan Heinz
Ages 10-17

Designed for intermediate to advanced string students with 3 or more years of experience. This ensemble focuses on cross-listening between sections, blend and balance, expressing various styles of music, and pursuing detailed, mature music making. Members demonstrate advanced shifting and bowing technique and are introduced to challenging string literature.

Rehearses Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 pm

Intermezzo Strings

Conducted by David Pope
Ages 10-17

Composed of students who have progressed to the intermediate level of performance on their instrument. Students will solidify and further develop the first and third positions through performance of repertoire. Having mastered the basic skills level (generally after three years of instruction), the focus is on developing proper tone quality, mastering bow techniques, refining ensemble skills, and the exploration of different musical style periods.

Rehearses Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 pm

Divertimento Strings

Conducted by Valerie Terry
Ages 10-17

Designed for students who have had some orchestral experience (2 to 3 years) and who are confident in their bow and left hand technique. Students should be comfortable playing in first position and will have already started exploring third position. This ensemble builds solid orchestral skills including ear training and continued sight-reading abilities. The ensemble continues to develop rhythmic confidence.

Rehearses Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 pm

Chamber Strings

Conducted by Celia Sperotto
Ages 8-14

Designed for students who have had limited orchestral experience (2 to 3 years) and who are working on mastering their reading ability. All students should have basic note-reading skills, including the ability to identify pitch names and play various rhythms using whole, half, quarter and eighth notes. Students should be comfortable playing in first position the keys of G and D. This ensemble builds solid, fundamental rhythmic and orchestral skills including improved sight-reading abilities, expanding first position and starting third position.

Rehearses Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 pm

Prelude Strings

Conducted by Emily Eskildsen
Ages 8-14

Designed to introduce string students to the fundamentals of ensemble playing. Students must have 1 year of experience or completed our Summer Music Camp. All students are beginning note readers and can demonstrate a good foundation in playing technique. The emphasis in rehearsal will be establishing good posture, technique, sound production, rehearsal discipline, rhythmic and note reading skills as well as understanding harmony in ensemble music.

Rehearses Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 pm

Apply Today!

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.

* Private Lesson Progress / Reimbursement Form


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.  

Annual Fund

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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:
Our staff is here to help by phone or email Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm.
The office is currently closed to the public.

A Special Offer

Sarasota Orchestra Friends are delighted to offer high-quality, locally-handmade masks for $25 each!