Ensembles

Our Ensembles

Instruction in Orchestra, Band & Jazz

MYS offers 12 ensembles for students of all ages. Students need only one year of experience on an instrument to audition and may play in as many ensembles for which they qualify at no extra cost. Following an audition, students are placed in the most advanced ensemble the conductors feel will be a good fit; where students are challenged musically but can succeed and have fun. Ensembles are listed in order of beginning to advanced. Click the titles and read below for descriptions on our orchestra, band and jazz ensembles.

Overture Strings

(Entry Level Strings)

Conductor: Kathie Reed

This strings-only ensemble is for players who have at least one year of experience with their instruments. Prior ensemble experience is not required, but players are expected to have basic music-reading skills and to know how to play in keys up to two sharps. Musicians in Overture will work on advancing their technical and musical knowledge, and be introduced to concepts such as following a conductor, music theory and how to listen and play. Teamwork is emphasized in a supportive environment.

Specific skills for joining Overture Strings:

  • Level equivalent to end of Suzuki Book 1 to Book 3
  • Facility throughout first position
  • Knowledge of flats and sharps: low 1st finger, high 3rd or 4th finger

Overture Strings

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Vivaldi Strings

(Intermediate Strings)

Conductor: Brian Quincey

Vivaldi is a strings-only chamber orchestra that plays a wide variety of music, from baroque to contemporary. Players are expected to have strong skills in sight-reading, intonation and rhythm, and must be able to tune their own instrument. Previous ensemble experience is recommended. Vivaldi Strings performs three concerts a year plus additional outreach performances.

Specific skills for joining Vivaldi Strings:

  • Level equivalent to Suzuki Books 5-6
  • Violins & violas: facility in 3rd and 5th positions; some knowledge of 2nd & 4th positions
  • Cellos: facility in first through fourth positions; some knowledge of 5th position and tenor clef
  • Good vibrato and tone production; developing spiccato

Vivaldi Strings

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Baroque Orchestra

Intermediate Level, Focus On Early Music

Conductor: Adam LaMotte

This chamber orchestra will consist of approximately 30 strings players. Baroque music (music composed in the 17th and 18th centuries) is a great way to help string players develop technique. There is exciting baroque repertoire for solo strings and various combinations of players. We are very excited about this new opportunity for our students and look forward to Mr. LaMotte’s involvement with our organization.

Specific skills for joining Baroque Orchestra:

You should know most or all of major and melodic scales in one octave.

Level equivalent to Suzuki Books 4-5

Fully developed vibrato for all strings players; slurred & staccato bowing styles

Violins & violas:  facility up to 5th position

Cellos:  Knowledge of extensions & 5th position

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Interlude Orchestra

Beginning Orchestra

Conductor: Nita Van Pelt

Musicians in this full orchestra (strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion) will be reading music in the keys up to three sharps. They should play with a nice tone, accurate intonation and have good rhythm skills. Musicians should be able to respond to changes in dynamics, tempo and meter. Rhythms will include triplets, 16th notes, and dotted rhythms. Interlude performs three concerts a year and takes a day tour in the spring.

Specific skills for joining Interlude Orchestra:

  • Level equivalent to Suzuki Books 3-4
  • Developing vibrato for all string players; slurred & staccato bowing styles
  • Violins & violas: facility in third position
  • Cellos: Knowledge of extensions & 4th position
  • Winds & percussion: level similar to Concert Band

Interlude Orchestra

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Concert Orchestra

(Intermediate Orchestra)

Conductor: Jeffrey Peyton

This full orchestra performs challenging unabridged pieces from the standard orchestral repertoire. All Concert Orchestra members must show a high proficiency in their playing and be able to demonstrate the full range of abilities for their instrument. Appropriate instruments should be comfortable transposing and playing in multiple clefs (see below). Woodwinds and brass must perform at Symphonic Band level. Concert Orchestra performs three concerts a year and is the featured ensemble at MYS's fabulous Viennese Ball. It is recommended that all Concert Orchestra players take private lessons.

Specific skills for joining Concert Orchestra:

  • It is recommended that Concert Orchestra players take private lessons
  • Level equivalent to Suzuki Books 7-8; early concerto repertoire (violins: Viotti, Accolay)
  • STRINGS: Facility in positions one through six. Spiccato and hooked bowings
  • Cellists must be able to read and play fluently in tenor clef
  • Violists should have some treble clef knowledge
  • Bassoonists must be able to read and play in tenor clef
  • Clarinetists should have basic transposition skills
  • Trumpet and horn players should have basic transposition skills

*MYS owns some instruments that may be available for loan, but serious students should consider purchasing their own.

Concert Orchestra

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Symphony Orchestra

(Advanced Orchestra)

Conductor: Raúl Gómez

The Symphony Orchestra is reserved for advanced players who exhibit sophisticated musical and technical abilities. This ensemble requires a high level of self-discipline and private lessons are required. The Symphony performs masterpieces from the standard orchestral repertoire and the great choral works, and presents three concerts each season in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall or Newmark Theater, plus additional mini-tours and international tours.

Symphony Players must have all skills required for lower groups, AND

  • Violists must be able to fluently read and play in treble clef.
  • Cellists must be able to fluently read and play in tenor AND treble clefs.
  • Bassoonists & trombonists must be able to read and play in tenor clef.
  • French horn, trumpet & clarinet players must have excellent transposing skills.
  • Flute players may be asked to play piccolo.*
  • Clarinet players should have access to an A Clarinet. *
  • Oboe players may be asked to play English Horn.*

*MYS owns some instruments that may be available for loan, but serious students should consider purchasing their own.

Symphony Orchestra

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MYSfits

(Outreach String Ensemble)

Conductor: Raúl Gómez

The members of this string ensemble are outreach ambassadors for the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. These dedicated young musicians enjoy playing and performing chamber orchestra music in and around the Portland area. The group performs outreach concerts for school children, at benefit concerts and special events, and through the summer presents free concerts through Portland Parks and Recreation. MYSfits is for current MYS musicians who enjoy a small ensemble setting and who wish to expand their musical experience and repertoire. Players must be in Symphony Orchestra to be eligible; new members are invited by the Music Director based on seating auditions.

MYSfits Strings Ensemble

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Sousa Band

(Entry Level Band)

Conductor: Sally Kuhns

This entry level band helps young woodwind, brass and percussion players develop a fundamental knowledge of music and gives them the opportunity to work on basic playing skills in a supportive environment. The ensemble is particularly appropriate for students with at least one year experience who are either taking private lessons or about to begin private lessons. The players are expected to be know the notes for key signatures using up to three flats and one sharp. Sousa Band prepares musicians for the more advanced music that is encountered in Concert Band. The Sousa Band performs at least three concerts each year.

Sousa Band

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Concert Band

(Intermediate Band)

Conductor: Dan Ogren

Concert Band is where the students grow their musicianship as an ensemble. They should have fundamental knowledge of music and are expected to know B-flat, E-flat, F Major and related melodic minor scales in two octaves, as well as 2 octave major scales up to 1 sharp and 4 flats. They will also need to be comfortable in all meters including duple and triple meters. Concert Band challenges the students to go beyond their expectation in preparation for the advanced Symphonic Band.

MYS Concert Band

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Symphonic Band

(Advanced Band)

Conductor: Patrick Murphy

This full band is the premier wind ensemble of the MYS organization. The Symphonic Band plays advanced level wind repertoire, and members are expected to have excellent skills in all areas of their instruments. Private lessons are required for musicians in Symphonic Band. Those players that meet the requirements and wish to enhance their musical training with an orchestral experience will be selected from Symphonic Band to play in the Concert and Symphony Orchestras. Symphonic Band performs three concerts each season at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Newmark Theater and at venues in the community. They also participate on international tours.

MYS Symphonic Band

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Jazz Band 1

(Large Jazz Ensemble setting)

Conductor: Ryan Meagher

MYS jazz bands are big band-style groups that play in competitions, festivals and at clubs around Portland, in addition to appearing on the MYS concert series. MYS is one of the few youth orchestras in the country offering a jazz band program. Jazz Band 1 is an advanced jazz group.

MYS Jazz Band 1

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Jazz Band 2

(Large Jazz Ensemble Setting)

Conductor: Greg McKelvey

MYS jazz bands are big band-style groups that play in competitions, festivals and at clubs around Portland, in addition to appearing on the MYS concert series. MYS is one of the few youth orchestras in the country offering a jazz band program. Jazz Band 2 is an intermediate jazz group

 

Jazz Band 2

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