Originally established as a single symphony orchestra, the California Youth Symphony has grown dramatically in the past 20 years and now offers eight programs, covering all symphonic instruments, for students ages 8 to 18. Our total enrollment exceeds 500 young musicians, representing over 100 Bay Area schools from Marin County to Gilroy. Our performance venues have expanded from the Peninsula and South Bay to include the East Bay, as well as run-out concerts in both Davis and Sacramento. The following is a list of CYS programs:

Senior Orchestra

With its sophisticated programming, superb musical leadership, outstanding soloists, and professional-level performances in many of the world's most famous and renowned concert halls, the California Youth Symphony Senior Orchestra sets itself apart as one of the finest youth symphonies in the nation. The opportunity for our young instrumentalists to perform the major works of composers suchs as Mahler, Strauss, Shostakovich, Stravinksy, Ravel, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, and many others is unsurpassed and is indicative of the supremely high level of artistic achievement of the orchestra.


Associate Orchestra

The CYS Associate Orchestra came into existence in 1995, and has grown in the past 20 years from a chamber-sized ensemble to a 100-piece full symphony orchestra which performs symphonic music of the highest caliber. The CYS Associate Orchestra provides advanced orchestral training to predominantly high school aged student musicians. As with the Senior Symphony, Associate members have the opportunity to perform concerto movements and concert works with the orchestra through our Concerto Competition held in December every year. 


Wind Symphony

The CYS Wind Symphony is the flagship ensemble of the CYS Wind Ensemble program.  It is open to advanced wind, percussion, and brass players and provides these young talented musicians a professional-level wind symphony experience. Students will enhance their skills as musicians and as ensemble performers through the exploration of advanced-level repertoire from classical to contemporary literature.


String Ensembles

The CYS String Ensemble program has grown steadily from one small string ensemble to two full-sized string ensembles totaling to 150-180 students. The String Ensembles perform major repertoire from the standard string orchestral literature, spanning repertoire from Vivaldi to Copland. With a keen focus on string technique, musicianship, phrasing and high performance standards, the players are well prepared for advancement into the CYS Associate and Senior Orchestras.  


Wind Ensembles

The CYS Wind Ensemble program comprises of three orchestral winds and brass ensembles providing instruction from the introductory level to the advanced level. Students are exposed to standard transcriptions and performance practices typical to their instrument in orchestral and symphonic band literature, and they work on orchestral style music in preparation for CYS' full symphonic orchestras. The Wind Ensembles focus on musicality, proper technique, blend, articulation, and introduce students to standard orchestral doublings and skill sets needed as a successful musician.


Recent Performance Photos