Philharmonia West

Beginning string students from the West Metro are challenged to excel in a fun environment while building a foundation for learning how to play in an orchestra in with other young musicians.


Mary SorlieBeloved conductor and string pedagogy expert Mary Sorlie strikes a winning balance of fun and rigor in GTCYS’ entry-level string orchestras, Philharmonia East and Philharmonia West. Beginning string players develop vital ensemble skills that foster individual growth, while learning how to listen and watch, and understand orchestral vocabulary. Philharmonia performs four to five annual concerts, including two at Orchestra Hall, and students have an average of 2 to 4 years’ experience. Special artistic projects, sectionals, retreats, social activities, and extra opportunities provide a well-rounded and transformative experience which develops students’ musical, leadership, and lifelong skills.


Philharmonia West rehearses on Mondays (September through early May) from 6:30 – 8:00pm at Edina Senior Center, 5280 Grandview Square, Edina.

Listen Now

Philharmonia West performed at GTCYS’ Fall Festival at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, on Sunday, November 19, 2017. Listen to a sample of their performance of their live performance at that concert of Hop, Skip & Jump by Gary Fletcher here. Interested in purchasing the full performance? Click here to purchase CDs and MP3s!


Philharmonia’s repertoire is primarily first position, and students must know detaché and staccato bow strokes. Repertoire highlights for spring 2018 include:

  • Country Wedding from The Moldau by Bedrich Smetana, arr. Sandra Dackow
  • Rondeau from “Masterpiece Theater” by Jean Joseph Mouret, arr. Vernon Leidig
  • Antique Dances and Airs by Ottorino Respighi, arr. Harry A. Alshin


GTCYS commits to providing an inspiring and comprehensive musical experience to transform students musically, personally, and socially. This means engaging the best conductors and sectional coaches, carefully curating musical selections for the best educational experience, performing in high quality venues, sharing music with diverse audiences, providing clear and consistent communications, promoting a welcoming and supportive environment, and putting students first.

In return, we ask students and parents for their commitment:

  • Pay annual tuition and retreat fees: Need-based scholarships are available, see below.
    • Note: tuition represents half the actual cost to participate and the remainder is subsidized by tax-deductible contributions. GTCYS does NOT ask families to participate in door-to-door fundraising activities.
  • Practice GTCYS music 10 minutes daily and come prepared to rehearsals; see the Attendance Policy for details.
  • Honor the attendance policy and abide by the student code of conduct; see Musician’s Handbook for details.


GTCYS serves all interested, dedicated students, regardless of financial constraints by providing $50,000 in need-based scholarships annually. Click here to learn more about scholarships »


Every student must audition annually for membership in GTCYS. Auditions include a short solo, memorized scales, and sight reading. Students interested being considered for GTCYS’ most advanced orchestras, Philharmonic and Symphony, must also prepare specified orchestral excerpts. Previous participation does not guarantee placement.



Extra Opportunities for Philharmonia West Students

GTCYS Ambassadors: Students gain valuable communication and advocacy skills by sharing a 5-minute presentation about their GTCYS experience with their school band or orchestra. Training provided! Students may sign up to be a GTCYS Ambassador for February 2018 here.

Leadership Opportunities: Develop leadership skills and build service hours for your college resume as an audition aide, student speaker, donor liaison, and other volunteer positions. Stay tuned for details about the 2017-18 leadership opportunities.

For information about getting involved, contact or call 651.602.6807.

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