Youth Orchestra Program

Youth Concert Orchestra

Youth Concert Orchestra (YCO) is a full-orchestra experience (the first of its kind for many students in the group).

2023-2024 Full Season Tuition: $580

Youth Concert Orchestra Rehearsal Dates

Mondays | 5:00pm - 7:00pm

Not sure which ensemble to visit?  Learn more about the ensembles here.  Or feel free to Email us at

About Youth Concert Orchestra

Intermediate-Level Full Orchestra
Age Requirement: Rising 5th grade or higher
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Percussion
Violin, Viola, Cello, & Bass

Assistant Professor of Music Education, Virginia Commonwealth University

Youth Concert Orchestra (YCO) is a full-orchestra experience (the first of its kind for many students in the group). Players generally move into YCO with experience playing in other string orchestras or wind ensembles. Listening, blending, and making music within the full orchestra setting is a challenge met by all students in YCO. In this ensemble, principal players learn what it means to effectively lead a section and all players learn to play together with unity, passion, precision and musical excellence. Students refine musical skills by performing original masterworks, arrangements and pops favorites.

Interested in auditioning for the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra? Click here to sign up for an audition.

Audition Requirements

YOP General FAQs

In the 2022/23 season our YOP students worked together to create a combined final recording project. Final projects are presented in during an end of semester Virtual Concert for students, friends, and family to attend.

In a normal season, String Sinfonietta, Camerata Strings, and YCO present two performances in the Carpenter Theatre each season (December and May)
Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra presents three performances in the Carpenter Theatre each season (November, February and May).

All ensembles will typically present one concert in the community during the season

Yes! In an effort to ensure that participation in YOP is accessible to all students regardless of their ability to pay, we are proud to offer a number of tuition assistance programs:

1. Financial Aid
The Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program offers both Need-Based Financial Aid and Merit Based Scholarships. Click here for more information and to apply for Financial Aid.

Private lessons are not required, however they are strongly encouraged for all of our students to help advance their skills.

Parent Representatives are a vital ingredient for the success of YOP. Parent representatives are present at every rehearsal to supervise check-in, set-up, announcements, and dismissal. A tuition waiver will be granted for one child of the parent representative in YOP for the current year. Applications are reviewed at the beginning of each season. Apply to be a parent rep here.

Yes! The Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program is very proud to support music education at all levels, and our policy has always been that Youth Orchestra musicians must participate in their school’s band and/or orchestra program, if class instruction is offered for their instrument. A Teacher’s signature required during enrollment period.

Find your School Participation form here.

Some YOP ensembles do have age restrictions. All YOP students must be enrolled in Public, Private, or Home school. College students are not eligible to join YOP.

  • String Sinfonietta: No age restriction.
  • Camerata Strings: No age restriction. Students should have prior ensemble experience.
  • Percussion Ensemble: Rising 5th grade or higher
  • Youth Concert Orchestra: Rising 5th grade or higher.
  • Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra: Rising 7th grade or higher

YOP Audition FAQs

There is no cost to audition. Check each ensemble's page to learn about tuition costs.

Each ensemble has different audition guidelines, review these guidelines with your school teacher or private instructor to determine which ensemble is best fit for you.

Students should come ready to perform Scales, Prepared Selections, Excerpts (for RSYO), and Sightreading. Refer to each ensemble's guidelines for specific instructions on what should be prepared.

YOP Auditions are not blind, students and judges will be able to see each other during the entire audition process.

Wear comfortable clothing, there is no need to dress up for this audition.

We recommend students use the following Suzuki Book Levels as guidelines for their Prepared Selections:

  • Camerata Strings: Suzuki Book levels 2 - 4
  • Youth Concert Orchestra: Suzuki Book levels 4 - 5+
  • Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra: Suzuki Book levels 6+

Students who are auditioning for the Youth Orchestra Program should bring the following:

  • Instrument
  • A music stand for the warm-up room (A music stand is provided in the audition room.)
  • Three copies of your Prepared Selections (if applicable)
  • A copy of your excerpts (For RSYO Students)

We plan to distribute audition results by Friday, June 16, 2023.

Email with details about your conflict and we will work towards a solution on a case-by-case basis. 

A link to YOP registration will be emailed to students and families when audition results are distributed.

The Youth Orchestra Program holds mid-season auditions in November to fill any holes in our sections. We cannot guarantee your instrument will have an opening during mid-season auditions. Current YOP students may only audition into a higher ensemble during June auditions. 

Youth Concert Orchestra Gallery



RSYOP: Sinfonietta Strings

Start Date: September 11, 2023


RSYOP: Camerata Strings

Start Date: September 11, 2023


RSYOP: Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra (RSYO)

Start Date: August 26, 2023


RSYOP: Youth Concert Orchestra (YCO)

Start Date: September 11, 2023

2023 - 24 YOP Season audition sign ups are open!