CVYO is home to 5 orchestras, each an integral part of the development of our young musicians

Youth Strings

Our most junior ensemble, youth strings ranges in size from 60 to 90 players. This string orchestra is where most string players begin their orchestral journey. Students learn how to play successfully as an ensemble and study the nuance, technique, and etiquette required to tackle intermediate symphonic repertoire. Some Youth Strings players participate in the Flore Ensemble, comprised of the more experienced players preparing to move into the Preparatory Orchestra.

Base Level (Strings): First position, no vibrato, 1-page solo works (Bach Minuet, etc)

Upper Level (Strings): Low positions (1st-3rd), vibrato, some articulation and double-stops, 2-page solo works (pupils concertos).

Average Grades: 1st-4th

Flore Ensemble

Ranging in size from 20 to 30 players, this string orchestra is an extension of Youth Strings, and helps prepare developing Youth Strings players for advancement to leadership positions as well as advancement to Preparatory Orchestra. Flore Ensemble players tackle more challenging repertoire and are selected by invitation based on their audition and performance at the first rehearsal.

Base Level (Strings): Low positions (1st-3rd), proficient vibrato, developed velocity and articulation technique, 2-3 page solo works.

Average Grades: 4th-5th

Preparatory Orchestra

This full symphonic orchestra is home to experienced string players, and our most junior wind, brass, and percussion players. Ranging in size from 60 to 80 players, they learn how to blend the many layers of a symphonic orchestra and hone their technical and expressive abilities by studying intermediate and standard symphonic repertoire.

Base Level (Strings): Low positions (1st-4th), proficient vibrato, advanced articulation, 2-3 page intermediate solo works (Vivaldi, Dancla, Goltermann).

Upper Level (Strings): Low and upper positions (1st-5th), proficient vibrato, developed velocity and articulation, 2-3 page upper intermediate solo works (baroque and classical).

Base Level (Winds and Brass): Low-mid ranges, good tone, ability to adjust intonation, intermediate tonguing and rhythm technique. 1-2 page early-intermediate solo works.

Upper Level (Winds and Brass): Low-mid and some high ranges, mature tone, experienced intonation work, tonguing, and rhythm technique. 2-3 page upper-intermediate solo works.

Average Grades: 5th-9th Grade

Symphony Orchestra

This fulll symphony orchestra is home to the most experienced string, wind, brass, and percussion players in our program, and is the flagship ensemble of the organization. Ranging in size from 70 to 90 players, they tackle some of the largest and most significant symphonic works across all of music literature from Brahms to Bruckner to Mussorgsky to Debussy.

Base Level (Strings): All positions, mature vibrato and technique, 3-4 page early concert-level solo works (romantic-period).

Upper Level (Strings): All positions, exceptional vibrato and technique, entire concert works (stand-repertoire concertos).

Base Level (Winds and Brass): All ranges, excellent tone, mature ability to adjust intonation, advanced tonguing and rhythm technique. 2-3 page advanced solo works.

Upper Level (Winds and Brass): All ranges, exceptional control in high ranges, excellent tone, intonation, tonguing, and rhythm technique. Full-length concert works (standard-repertoire concertos)

Average Grades: 8th-12th Grade


Virtuosi is a chamber orchestra comprised primarily of the principal players of the Symphony Orchestra. Virtuosi gives the musicians that are focused on refining their craft above and beyond their peers a place to tackle even more challenging repertoire.

Virtuosi boasts its own performance schedule with 3 additional concerts, performs mostly conductorless, and will often host renowned guest artists that play alongside the students in the orchestra or in chamber music.

Virtuosi membership is invitation-only, and requires a principal audition for Symphony Orchestra.

California Young Artists Symphony

The California Young Artist Symphony is the sister orchestra of CVYO.

Musicians play tuition-free, and are awarded prestigious fellowship scholarships. The orchestra is home to young pre-professional artists from schools such as the Colburn Conservatory, USC, UCLA, as well as the most gifted pre-college musicians in our region, hailing from Long Beach to Santa Barbara.

CYAS guest conductors are internationally-renowned conductors, traveling from as far as New York and Florida to bring their unique vision and leadership to the next generation of professional musicians.