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FAQs

Answers to your questions about auditions, eligibility, preparation, and placement.

To prioritize students’ well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak and to reduce barriers for participation, students will submit a recorded video of their 2020-21 audition through an online portal. The main round of auditions was held between May 7 – June 1, but we are still accepting auditions to fill open positions on a rolling basis until August. Click here for detailed information about this process.

Who may audition?

  • Any student from beginning to pre-professional ability, ages 8 to 18.
  • String players usually have two years’ playing experience before their first GTCYS audition, and woodwind, brass, and percussion players typically have at least one year of playing experience before auditioning for GTCYS.
  • Any orchestral instrument: violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, percussion, and harp.
  • Everyone auditions once each season regardless of previous GTCYS participation.
  • GTCYS’ ten orchestras range from beginning to pre-professional, and we have a high placement rate for students of all abilities.

When are GTCYS’ auditions?

What do I need to prepare for an audition?

  • Students need to prepare two items: a short solo and 2 scales.
  • Students who wish to be considered for Camerata, Concert Orchestra, Philharmonic, or Symphony must also prepare specified orchestral excerpts.
  • Be sure to review the specific audition requirements for each instrument.

What orchestras may I audition for?

GTCYS has ten academic-year orchestras which range from beginning to pre-professional. While there are specific audition requirements for each orchestra, your audition is for entry into the program and adjudicators will place you based on your ability (see placement info below).

They are, in order of proficiency:

Philharmonia East (strings only): GTCYS’ entry-level, strings-only orchestra which focuses on basics of ensemble playing and listening skills. Students have an average of 2 to 4 years’ experience playing their instruments. Conducted by Mary Sorlie. Rehearses in St. Paul.

Philharmonia West (strings only): GTCYS’ entry-level, strings-only orchestra which focuses on basics of ensemble playing and listening skills. Students have an average of 2 to 4 years’ experience playing their instruments. Conducted by Mary Sorlie. Rehearses in Edina.

Sinfonia East: GTCYS’ first full orchestra with strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion focuses on development of ensemble playing and listening skills. String players in Sinfonia have an average of 3 to 5 years’ experience, and woodwind/brass/percussion students have been playing their instruments for 1 to 4 years. Conducted by Ernesto Estigarribia. Rehearses in St. Paul.

Sinfonia West: GTCYS’ first full orchestra with strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion focuses on development of ensemble playing and listening skills. String players in Sinfonia have an average of 3 to 5 years’ experience, and woodwind/brass/percussion students have been playing their instruments for 1 to 4 years. Conducted by Laura Hebert. Rehearses in Edina.

Concertino East (new in fall 2020!): An intermediate orchestra which focuses on the development of technical and ensemble skills through a variety of repertoire. String players have an average of 4 to 7 years of experience and wind/brass/percussion students have been playing their instruments for 1 to 4 years. Conductor and rehearsal location will be announced in spring 2020.

Concertino West: An intermediate orchestra which focuses on the development of technical and ensemble skills through a variety of repertoire. String players have an average of 4 to 7 years of experience and wind/brass/percussion students have been playing their instruments for 1 to 4 years. Conducted by Dan Mollick. Rehearses in Minneapolis.

Camerata: An intermediate-advanced orchestra which focuses on more developing technical and ensemble skills. Repertoire includes arrangements and original compositions. String players in Camerata have an average of 5 to 7 years of experience and winds/brass/percussion students have been playing their instruments for 3 to 7 years. Conducted by Kent Musser. Rehearses in Edina.

Concert Orchestra: An advanced orchestra which performs original classical repertoire and focuses on advanced technique and musicianship. String players in Concert Orchestra have an average of 6 to 8 years of experience and winds/brass/percussion students have been playing their instruments for 4 to 8 years. Conducted by Mark Gitch. Rehearses in Edina.

Philharmonic: A highly advanced orchestra which performs the standard professional repertoire and focuses on individual musicianship. String players in Philharmonic have an average of 7 to 10 years of experience and winds/brass/percussion students have typically been playing their instruments for  5 to 8 years. Conducted by Gary Wolfman. Rehearses in Minneapolis.

Symphony: GTCYS’ flagship, pre-professional orchestra which performs major symphonic repertoire. String players in Symphony have an average of 7 to 12 years of experience and winds/brass/percussion students have typically been playing their instruments for 5 to 8 years. Conducted by Mark Russell Smith. Rehearses in Minneapolis.

How do I register for an audition?

  • Audition registration for 2020-21 season is currently open. Register for an audition »
  • A $40 audition fee (non-refundable and not applicable to tuition) is due with your registration. A reduced fee of $5 is available for low-income families and families who anticipate applying for a need-based scholarship.
  • If you previously registered for an in-person audition for the 2020-21 season, you do not need to register again for an online audition.
  • You may only submit one video for the season.

How do I submit my audition video?

  • Students will submit an audition video through an online form.
  • Videos will only be accepted and assessed on a rolling basis through August.
  • Students must upload their audition video to YouTube. You will need a Google account in order to create a YouTube account. Click here for instructions on how to create an account.
  • Step-by-step instructions on uploading a video to YouTube and specific requirements will be provided in mid-April.

How long should my audition video be?

  • Total video length should not exceed 10 minutes
  • Recordings must be completed in a single take (no editing or piecing together) in this order: solo, scales, then optional excerpts. Any evidence of video manipulation will disqualify the student’s submission.

What should I wear?

Neat dress is appreciated! Wear nice clothes which are comfortable to perform in. It is also a good idea to practice in the clothes you plan to wear for your audition at least once.

What do I need to memorize?

  • Strings: Scale memorization for the Philharmonia and Sinfonia levels is preferred but not required. Scale memorization for all other levels is required.
  • Woodwinds, brass, and percussion: Scale memorization for the Sinfonia and Concertino levels is preferred but not required. Scale memorization for all other levels is required.
  • Click here for scale resources.
  • Memorization is not required for solos or orchestral excerpts.

How are musicians placed?

  • The primary criterion for placement is the student’s playing; other factors such as instrumentation needs may be considered as well.
  • While sound quality of submitted videos may vary due to differences in recording equipment, judges will listen for the overall quality of students’ performance and not the quality of recording.
  • All qualified students are offered placement in the appropriate GTCYS orchestra, space permitting.
  • Previous participation in GTCYS does not guarantee placement.
  • All placements are final. Students who have auditioned already for the 2020-21 are not eligible to audition again until spring auditions for the 2021-22 season.

When will I receive my results?

  • Placement results for the 2020-21 spring auditions will be emailed out by the end of June.
  • Please do not inquire for results.

What does participation entail?

  • Review the orchestra pages for information about the orchestra experience, weekly rehearsal schedule, retreats and performances.
  • Participation in GTCYS means an unforgettable experience of musical and personal growth in energizing rehearsals and inspiring concerts, with friends old and new!

What does it cost to be in GTCYS?

  • A $40 audition fee (non-refundable and not applicable to tuition) is due with the Audition Registration. (Need-based reduced fee of $5 available.)
  • Tuition amounts for the 2020-21 season range from $725 – $1,055, plus a $100 retreat fee.
  • GTCYS offers multiple installment plans to accommodate families’ needs. See scholarship information below for more about affordability.
  • GTCYS offers sibling discounts in the amount of $75 per additional child.

Are scholarships available?

GTCYS is highly committed to making our programs accessible for families, regardless of financial constraints. We provide $100,000 in need-based scholarships for tuition and lessons annually. Click here to learn more or call us at 651.602.6800.

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