Audition

CYO’s auditions are held in May and June.  Next season’s materials will be available in early 2020.

Preparation: Auditions typically last 10-15 minutes and are heard by CYO staff.  Audition requirements are posted on this website in January to give students time to adequately prepare for their auditions.

Other Requirements: All orchestra members are expected to participate in school music programs, when such programs exist. By participating in a school music program, you benefit by playing every day, becoming a better sight-reader, and playing an important part in helping to build meaningful music programs in your schools and communities.

Audition FAQ’s

  1. What is Contemporary Youth Orchestra (CYO)?  CYO is a nonprofit organization focused on music education and youth, and we operate multiple ensembles and programs that focus on the study and performance of contemporary and new music.  CYO’s ensembles include a full orchestra and a chamber music program called Origins.  Within Origins, CYO offers percussion, string, wind and brass ensembles.  Students are selected for all of CYO’s ensembles through a competitive audition process.
  2. Tell me more about CYO’s full orchestra.  The orchestra consists of 110 students ages 12-18, representing more than 60 school districts in NE Ohio.  The orchestra’s season parallels the academic calendar, running from late August to mid-June.  CYO’s orchestra performs 3-4 public concerts each season, including our signature Rock the Orchestra concert when we pair the orchestra with a well-known rock/pop artist like Jason Mraz for a one-of-a-kind performance opportunity.
  3. Tell me more about CYO’s Origins chamber music program.   Origins includes percussion, string, wind and brass ensembles.  Students who are selected for Origins are placed in a chamber ensemble of their peers and paired with a professional coach.  This program is designed to provide young musicians with a deeper and more involved understanding of music and their instruments.  Additionally, Origins runs a masterclass series to introduce students to leaders in professional music, from musicians to professors to psychologists.  Origins ensembles perform 1-2 times per season.
  4. What am I auditioning for?  It is important to understand that when you audition for CYO, you are auditioning for all of CYO’s ensembles.  Placement in ensembles is based on available seats and technical ability.  Because CYO is in residence at Cuyahoga Community College, Metro Campus, we are also able to recommend that students participate in one of Tri-C’s community music programs.  CYO’s goal through the audition process is for all students who audition to be placed where they will continue to grow as both individual musicians and as ensemble players.  Intermediate and advanced players are most appropriate for the full orchestra and chamber programs.  Students who need some additional development will be recommended to a Tri-C ensemble.
  5. When & where do I audition?  CYO’s auditions open by February each year.  Auditions are scheduled in May and June for the following season.  Auditions are held at the Tri-C Metro Campus located at 2809 Woodland Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
  6. How do I prepare for my audition?  CYO will post all audition requirements on our website when we open up the audition process.  We encourage you to work with your private instructor or school orchestra director to prepare for your audition.  Auditions are heard unaccompanied, and material does not need to be memorized.
  7. What will  my audition look like?   You should prepare to arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled audition time and you should dress in respectful, comfortable clothing that allows you to play at your best.  We will have a room available where you can warm up.  CYO’s Music Director and sectional coaches will hear your audition.  You will be asked to play required excerpts, a solo piece and scales.  We will also have a conversation with you to get to know you better.  The audition will last 15 minutes.
  8. What happens after my audition?  CYO’s Music Director and sectional coaches will place students in the ensemble most appropriate for their level of playing.  Students will be notified of their audition results in mid to late June.  We notify students through the email you provide in your audition application.  If you are recommended to a Tri-C ensemble, we will connect you with the appropriate point person at Tri-C so that you are able to explore options available to you to further your technical and musical development.

If you have any questions, please contact CYO’s Music Director Liza Grossman or CYO’s Director of Origins Ben Kipp.

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