Akron Youth Philharmonic

About the Akron Youth Philharmonic

For the past 34 years, the Akron Symphony Orchestra and the Akron Public Schools have co-sponsored the Akron Youth Philharmonic, which has provided the opportunity for talented students to perform a wide variety of orchestral literature with their peers. The Youth Philharmonic is geared toward sixth through ninth graders, but is open to all qualified middle and high school students from area school districts, as well as home-schooled students.

The Akron Youth Philharmonic is under the direction of Douglas Bayda, director of orchestras at Miller South School for Visual and Performing Arts in the Akron Public School district.

The Akron Youth Philharmonic provides:

  • Full orchestra experience
  • Excellent preparation for the Akron Youth Symphony


AYP will be held on September 11 and September 12 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day. All auditions will take place at Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, which is located at 1055 East Avenue in Akron.

All students interested in performing in AYP will need to audition in September. No audition fee is required. AYP participation fee is $50. Students who auditioned for the Akron Youth Symphony in May must re-audition and, if accepted into AYP, their audition fee from May will be applied to their AYP participation fee.

The audition application deadline is September 5.

Please follow this link to fill out and submit an application.

Once your application has been received, you will receive an email at the parent email address you have provided directing you to a link via Sign Up Genius. Use that link to select the preferred time and day for your audition. Please be sure to watch your email for this information.

For further information, call Orzella Matherson at the Akron Symphony Office at 330.535.8131 or by e-mail at omatherson@akronsymphony.org.

Audition Requirements for All Instruments

Please prepare music that demonstrates your musical ability. Solos or etudes are preferred. Literature from your school ensemble that demonstrates your technical and musical abilities is also acceptable. You must bring music. Accompanists are not permitted at the audition. Your audition will be evaluated on the following criteria.

Rhythm: Demonstrate the ability to play with a steady tempo at a fast or slow rate while keeping note values proportionate. In general, avoid choosing pieces that rely heavily on exaggerated use of rubato to make their musical effect.

Scales: Full-range major scales through four sharps and four flats may be requested. Wind and brass players may be asked for chromatic scales.

Sight Reading: A short musical excerpt comparable to the music performed by the group may be asked.

General: Tone, dynamic variety, articulation (staccato, marcato, legato, etc.), range, intonation, shifting, breathing, bow use, and musicality will also be evaluated.

Additional Requirements for Specific Instruments

Woodwinds: Flute, Clarinet, Oboe and Bassoon – If you have piccolo or bass clarinet experience and access, please bring one with you to demonstrate your ability.

Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass and Harp – Familiarity with shifting and upper positions is highly desirable. You will be asked to perform two-octave scales.

Brass: Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn and Tuba – No transposition will be necessary.

Percussion: Demonstrate proficiency on snare drum and a mallet instrument.

Tuition & Attendance

There is a $50 participation fee (no audition fee). Checks should be made payable to: Akron Youth Orchestras. Payment is due by the first rehearsal on October 8. Attendance is expected at all rehearsals and concerts.


Rehearsals will be held on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts. Rehearsals will run from October 8 through March 10. There will not be rehearsals on November 5, December 17, December 24 and December 31.

A joint rehearsal with the Akron Youth Symphony will be held on March 8 from 1:15 to 4:15 p.m. at The University of Akron’s Guzzetta Hall.


The Akron Youth Philharmonic performs on the following dates during the 2019-20 season:

  • Akron Youth Orchestras Winter Concert, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, at 3 p.m. at Tallmadge High School Auditorium
  • Akron Middle School Strings Festival, Thursday, February 27, 2020, at 7 p.m. at Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts
  • Akron Youth Orchestras Side-by-Side Concert, Sunday, March 15, 2020, at 3 p.m. at Tallmadge High School Auditorium

If you have any questions, please contact Orzella Matherson at the Akron Symphony Office at 330.535.8131 or by e-mail at omatherson@akronsymphony.org.

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