The area’s leading high school musicians achieve an outstanding level of artistry, performing professional repertoire and collaborating with guest artists in premier performance opportunities.


Gary WolfmanConductor Gary Wolfman leads Philharmonic through a deep exploration of major symphonic repertoire and the music’s historical context. With a focus on developing individual musicianship that drives the orchestra’s collective success, Philharmonic builds students’ lifelong appreciation of music and desire to strive for excellence. With five annual concerts, including two at Orchestra Hall, Philharmonic attracts the area’s leading high school musicians. 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. 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.


Philharmonic rehearses on Tuesdays (September through early May) from 7:00 – 9:30pm at Shir Tikvah Synagogue, 5000 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis.

Listen Now

Philharmonic performed at GTCYS’ Fall Festival at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, on Sunday, November 19, 2017. Listen to a sample of their live performance at that concert of Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa (arranged by Clark McAlister) here. Interested in purchasing the full performance? Click here to purchase CDs and MP3s!


Philharmonic performs works from the standard professional repertoire. Highlights of Philharmonic’s fall 2018 repertoire include:

  • Symphony No. 2 “Romantic,” III. Allegro con brio by Howard Hanson
  • Overture to Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi


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: $860 full-year tuition, plus $100 retreat fee. 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 Philharmonic Students

Chamber Music Institute (CMI): This annual chamber music program with our partner, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, provides Philharmonic and Symphony students high-level training with professional musicians. Click here to apply.

Student Mentorship Program: Philharmonic and Symphony musicians have the opportunity to inspire GTCYS’ younger students and gain valuable mentor experience by playing side by side with them in rehearsals. Training provided! Click here for details about the 2018-19 Student Mentorship program.

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!

Leadership Opportunities: Develop leadership skills and build service hours for your college resume as an audition volunteer, student speaker, donor liaison, and other volunteer positions. Stay tuned for details about the 2018-19 leadership opportunities.

For information about getting involved, contact or call 651.602.6807.

Get the Backstage Experience!

Be our guest! Treat the family to a special night out to learn more about what you can expect from GTCYS.

Learn More