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

Our ensembles are carefully designed to guide young musicians from their earliest days as orchestral musicians through the university level, studying the most complex and profound symphonic music throughout all of music literature.

Though none of our ensembles have age or grade requirements, the descriptions below can be helpful in guiding musicians to the ensemble most appropriate to their level of playing. If you have any questions on our ensemble levels or requirements, please consult your private teacher or reach out to our office directly.

Youth Strings

Our most junior ensemble, youth strings ranges in size from 40 to 80 musicians. 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. Each semester begins at an easy pace and gives new musicians a chance to acclimate to large ensemble playing. Our most experienced Youth Strings musicians participate in the Flore Ensemble, in preparation to for the Preparatory Orchestra.

Level Range (Strings): Mid-Beginner to Early-Intermediate (3rd position, some vibrato)

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.

Level Range (Strings): Upper-Beginner to Mid-Intermediate (some 4th position).

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. Preparatory Orchestra rehearsals begin the semester with a fully functional reading of the entire semester’s repertoire. Members arrive prepared with their material and ready to drill and develop their quality of playing immediately.

Level Range (Strings): Mid-Intermediate to Early Advanced.
Level Range (Winds and Brass): Early intermediate to upper intermediate.

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. Symphony Orchestra begins the semester with a reading of the semester’s repertoire at full tempo with all material in good preparation, and begins work on refinement and artistic ensemble techniques immediately.

Level Range (Strings): Advanced to Concert level (our principals are competition winners, many of whom are candidates for the field of music).

:Level Range (Winds/Brass/Percussion): Advanced to Concert level (our principals are competition winners, many of whom are candidates for the field of music).

Average Grades: 9th – College


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.