Akron Youth Symphony

About the Akron Youth Symphony

The Akron Youth Symphony is one of the finest youth orchestras in Ohio and is the flagship ensemble of the Akron Youth Orchestra program. The Akron Youth Symphony provides an outstanding pre-professional educational experience for advanced music students.

Full Orchestra Experience

The full orchestra performs major orchestral repertoire in a minimum of three public performances at various venues each season. Eric Benjamin, Assistant Conductor of the Akron Symphony Orchestra, also serves as Music Director of the Akron Youth Symphony beginning July 2015. Members of the professional Akron Symphony Orchestra serve as coaches for the Akron Youth Symphony, assisting students in developing their performance skills and preparing the challenging repertoire.

Other Opportunities to Perform

In addition to the full orchestra experience, Akron Youth Symphony members have the opportunity to perform in a chamber orchestra and in chamber ensembles, exposing them to more intimate music and small ensemble performance practices. Akron Youth Symphony members may also compete for the opportunity to perform as a soloist with the youth symphony in an annual Concerto Competition. Members may also apply for scholarships for college and summer music camps as well as for lesson subsidy money.

For more information

Contact Orzella Matherson at 330.535.8131.


Akron Youth Symphony auditions will take place May 17 through May 22. The application deadline is May 10.

The dates, times and locations of the auditions will be announced on March 22. The application form and application packet will be available for download from this page once the auditions are announced. Specific instrumental requirements will also be available at that time.

Auditions will be held for middle and high school students who play one of the following instruments:

  • Strings: violin, viola, cello, bass
  • Woodwinds: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon
  • Brass: French horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba
  • Percussion: snare drum, mallets, timpani
  • Others: harp, piano

Once the auditions are announced:

  • Applicants will receive an email that will allow them to select their audition time and date.
  • Written recommendations from your current private teacher and current school music director are not required, but are encouraged with your application.
  • A non-refundable $25 audition fee must be submitted with the audition application.
  • Auditions are private and not open to the public.
  • No accompaniment, please.
  • Copies of orchestral excerpts are available for your use. It is strongly recommended that you listen to recordings of the orchestral works while preparing the excerpts.
  • Students not accepted to AYS may audition for the Akron Youth Philharmonic in September.

If you have questions about AYS or the audition process, contact Orzella Matherson or Sharon Smith at the Akron Symphony office at 330.535.8131.