Challenging. Transformative. High quality. Accessible. Welcoming. Community-driven. Student-focused.
The Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS, pronounced git-seez) embodies a holistic approach to music instruction founded on excellence and personal growth in a supportive environment. By focusing on the educational process while upholding rigorous and inspiring standards of excellence, students develop lifelong musical, social, and leadership skills which help position them for success and find meaning in school and beyond. GTCYS serves musicians of all ages and abilities, from beginning to pre-professional, ages 8 to 18. Year-round opportunities provide challenging and accessible entry points, and we provide need-based scholarships to support interested students regardless of financial constraints.
GTCYS’ nine academic-year orchestras provide a rigorous and inspiring orchestral learning community for more than 800 beginning to pre-professional string, woodwind, brass, and percussion students each year. Students must audition annually and are placed by ability in our orchestras which range from beginning to pre-professional. Every orchestra has weekly evening rehearsals, four to seven annual performances, including two at Orchestra Hall, two day retreats, sectionals with professional musicians, social activities, and leadership opportunities like mentoring and service projects. The orchestras, listed in progressive order, are:
- Philharmonia East and Philharmonia West (strings only)
- Sinfonia East and West
- Concert Orchestra
Each audition includes: short solo, 2-3 scales, sight reading (and orchestral excerpt for Philharmonic and Symphony auditionees). Click here to learn more about auditions.
In fall 2016, GTCYS launched Harmony, a program providing after-school group violin instruction twice a week for 18 3rd graders at Riverview Elementary, a dual immersion Spanish-English. This year, the program doubled to serve 40 3rd and 4th graders three days a week with the addition of semi-private lessons to boost students’ progress. Designed to be highly accessible, Harmony provides instruments, performance opportunities, mentoring by older GTCYS students, concert attire, and transportation home.
Given Harmony’s success and increased demand, we are excited to expand the 2018-19 program to serve 60 students. With the creation of a new 5th grade class, current 3rd and 4th graders will advance while we welcome 20 new 3rd graders and incorporate additional enrichment opportunities. We are grateful for this year’s funders who have made this program possible, including Xcel, Mardag, F.R. Bigelow, and St. Paul Foundations, and Aroha Philanthropies.
Whether you’re a first-time orchestra student or an advanced player, there’s a place for you in one of GTCYS’ three Summer Orchestras which inspire string, woodwind, brass, and percussion students.
String Orchestra Camp
Budding young string players can participate in a fun string orchestra day camp where they’ll experience the excitement of playing in an orchestra, make new friends, grow musically, and have fun! Rehearsals, sectionals with professional coaches, fun social opportunities, field trips, and special music activities create a well-rounded musical experience.
Touring empowers students with musical, social, and cultural opportunities that will shape their lives for years to come. With a rich touring history and future tours in the works, including Symphony’s 2018 Germany, Poland, and Hungary Tour, GTCYS will carry on the touring legacy.