Youth Orchestra Ensembles

Sarasota Youth Orchestras consists of eight ensembles, 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 ensembles. Each ensemble rehearses weekly, from September to April in the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center at 709 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.

Sarasota Orchestra Youth Orchestras

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, fluent in first and third positions, developing extended positions, demonstrate advanced shifting and bowing techniques.  Member will refine dynamics, articulation skills and are introduced to challenging string literature.  This ensemble focuses on cross-listening between sections, blend and balance, expressing various styles of music, and pursuing detailed, mature music-making. 

Rehearses Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 pm

Intermezzo Strings

Conducted by Keely Werly
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 keys of 3 sharps/3 flats) through the 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

Camerata Strings

Conducted by Celia Sperotto
Ages 8-14

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

Divertimento Strings

Conducted by TBD
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

Chamber Strings

Conducted by TBD
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

Sarasota Youth Orchestra Program

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 $25 off your tuition for each new student. Example: Talk with 4 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: FULL TUITION scholarships (excluding application fee) are awarded based on family need. To be considered for a full tuition scholarship, you must provide full income disclosure (IRS 1040 Form, page one, front and back) and an 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).

Give to the
Annual Fund

Gifts to the Annual Fund ensure that Sarasota Orchestra can continue to share the gift of music with our community through concerts, education and outreach programs. Please join us by making a donation today. Together, we can keep the music playing, now and always.

Don't Miss These
Special Events

Join us to celebrate our 75th Anniversary at these exciting events.

Dinner Series
Six Dinners throughout the season

Orchestra Brunch
Sunday, November 12, 2023

Celebrate 75 Concert and Gala
Thursday, February 15, 2024


Contact Us


709 N Tamiami Tr, Sarasota, FL 34236


Box Office: 941.953.3434
Administration: 941.953.4252

 Box Office Hours:

Our Box Office staff are available to assist you in person, by phone, or by email on Monday - Friday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

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About Us

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


Sarasota Orchestra is committed to making our performances and facilities accessible to everyone in our community.

All of the Orchestra’s facilities are accessible to persons using wheelchairs.

Assistive listening devices are available for all Orchestra performances.