The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music alert: Auditions for Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras are available now

February 27, 2010
Leave a Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

Attention all middle school and high school classical music students and their parents:

Today is Saturday — and Saturday morning is the time when hundreds of young teenage musicians from all over south-central Wisconsin descend on the University of Wisconsin School of Music in Madison. There — under the auspices of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) — they take lessons and perform in various groups.

In March, you can hear the usually outstanding results of that teaching and learning at the annual two-day Winterfest concerts, WYSO’s largest fundraiser of the year. (It’s not too soon to start marking your calendars and datebooks.) Here is a preview for a WYSO press release::

“On March 13 and 14, more than 300 talented young musicians will light up the stage at Mills Concert Hall with a mix of classical works and modern pieces, including a world premiere by one of WYSO’s own members.

“On Saturday, March 13 at 11:30am, WYSO’s Harp Ensemble will kick off the concert series, followed by string orchestra Sinfonietta, playing “Aria” by Villa-Lobos and O’Loughlin’s “Confluence.”

“Concert Orchestra will perform at 1:30pm and will treat the audience to such varied fare as Brahms’s “Two Waltzes” and Robert W. Smith’s The Great Locomotive Chase, inspired by events surrounding the railway between Atlanta and Chattanooga during the early years of the Civil War.

Philharmonia Orchestra will present a world premiere performance at 4pm with 18-year-old WYSO member Robert Harlow’s piece, Yangzi. In addition to Harlow’s work, Philharmonia will perform Copland’s beloved “Variations on a Shaker Melody,” movements 3 and 4 of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5, and “Thunder and Lightning Polka” by Strauss.

On Sunday, March 14 at 2 p.m., WYSO’s premier performing group, Youth Orchestra, will play Shostakovich’s vibrant Festival Overture, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 6, originally composed for the Vienna Philharmonic, and De Falla’s ballet El Sombrero de Tres Picos (The Three-Cornered Hat).

The Winterfest Concerts will be held in Mills Concert Hall in the UW Humanities Building, 455 N. Park Street, Madison.  WYSO concerts are generally about an hour to an hour and a half in length, providing a great orchestral concert opportunity for families.  Tickets are available at the door, $8 for adults and $5 for children under 18 years of age.

Local philanthropists and organizations recognize the value of WYSO. You call tell because the Winterfest project is supported by the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission with additional funds from the American Girl’s Fund for Children, the Evjue Foundation, Inc., the charitable arm of The Capital Times, and the Overture Foundation. This project is also supported by the Webcrafters-Frautschi Foundation and Diane Endres Ballweg. In addition, this project is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

BUT: You don’t just get to play in WYSO because you show up and walk in the door.

You have to audition.

And NOW is the time to apply for auditions that will conducted in April.

Here is a link to the homepage at WYSO with information about concerts and about auditions.

If you still need convincing, you only have to recall some of the distinguished alumni of WYSO (they have been featured in this blog) and remember the history of WYSO, which was founded in 1966 by Marvin Rabin. Here is a capsule history:

“Now celebrating its 43rd season, WYSO membership has included more than 5,000 young musicians from more than 100 communities in southern Wisconsin.  WYSO, currently under the artistic direction of James Smith, includes three full orchestras, a string orchestra, a chamber music program, a percussion ensemble, a harp ensemble and a brass choir program.”

For more information about WYSO, use this link:

Have you been a WYSO student or parent?

What do you think of the experience?

Do you recommend it?

Have you heard a WYSO concert?

What did you think of the performance?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,261 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,343,974 hits
%d bloggers like this: