Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra
The Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program (YOP) is a program for students that introduces them into the world of the symphony. YOP is sponsored by the Richmond Symphony.
The Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra was founded in the spring of 1962 by Edgar Schenkman and is the oldest youth orchestra in the state of Virginia. It was a partnership between the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and Richmond Public Schools. The schools provided the venues, students, and music stands, and the Richmond Symphony provided Edgar Schenkman and the rest of the artistic leadership. It was originally only one orchestra, but by 1981 had expanded to three orchestras, the original Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony Youth Concert Orchestra, and the Richmond Symphony String Sinfonietta. In 2004, a fourth orchestra was added, the Richmond Symphony Camerata Strings.
The String Sinfonietta is an all-string ensemble for young musicians, directed by Joseph Wargo from 1983 to 2004 when the Camerata Strings were created. Camerata Strings is also just for strings and is the next level up. Mr. Wargo helped found the Camerata Strings and conducted the group from 2004 to 2008 when he resumed his original position with the String Sinfonietta (and his real passion for teaching the youngest performers) until his retirement in late 2008. String Sinfonietta is now conducted by Christie-Jo Adams (an alumnus of the Young Performer’s Program and the String Sinfonietta under Joseph Wargo in particular) and Camerata Strings now is conducted by Rebecca Jilcott. The Youth Concert Orchestra is the lower-level full orchestra, conducted by Beth Almore until 2007 (now conducted by Amy Birdsong), and the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra is the top ensemble, a full orchestra, conducted by Dr. Erin Freeman, D.Mus., since 2007. The orchestras accept students up through 12th grade. All four orchestras meet weekly and participate in coaching and masterclasses by Richmond Symphony musicians, mentoring, and other activities. The orchestras are the top orchestral training ensembles of central Virginia. In 2008, the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra played at the Kennedy Center with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Richmond Symphony.
All students must participate in their school band or orchestra program.
String Sinfonietta: conducted by Christie Jo-Adams; No formal audition, but required to know: C, D, and G major scales, 2 octave preferred (1 octave for bass) All Strings: 1st position notes on all strings Violins: basic 3rd position on the E string Cellos: basic 2 ½ and 3rd position on the A string Basses: basic 2 ½ and 3rd position on the G string (high C/D area)
Camerata Strings: conducted by Rebeca Jilcott; formal audition process Scales: all major scales up to 3 sharps and 3 flats, 2 octaves (Bass 1 octave) PLUS Harp: Scale of your choice, 2 octaves hands together Violin: G major, 3 octaves Viola: C major, 3 octaves Cello: C major 3 octaves Bass: F major 2 octaves
Sightreading Solo Piece: must be about 3 minutes and best demonstrate the abilities of the student Equivalent to VBODA or ASTA level 3-4
Youth Concert Orchestra (YCO): conducted by Amy Birdsong formal audition process 1. Scale Requirements: (Quarter = 120) Strings Harp: Scales of your choice, 3 octaves hands together Violin: G, A, B-flat, B & C major scales, 3 octaves g, a, b, & c melodic minor scales, 3 octaves Viola: C, D, E-flat, E & F major scales, 3 octaves c, d, e, & f melodic minor scales, 3 octaves Cello: C, D, E-flat, E & F major scales, 3 octaves c, d, e, & f melodic minor scales, 3 octaves Bass: E, F, G & A major scales, 2 octaves e, f, g, & a melodic minor scales, 2 octaves Winds All major/melodic minor scales up to 4 sharps/flats, 2 octaves Chromatic scale, 2 octaves preferred Percussion Scales on a mallet instrument Ability to play a roll (pp-ff) on snare drum 2. Sight Reading (required for all instrumentalists) Viola players should be prepared to read in TREBLE clef Cello, bassoon, and trombone players should be prepared to read in TENOR clef 3. Solo Requirements Applicants must prepare a 3-minute piece that best demonstrates their playing ability Must be equivalent to VBODA or ASTA’s level of 4-5 Percussionists must be prepared to play a solo on snare or a mallet instrument
Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra (RSYO): conducted by Erin Freeman formal audition Harp Scales of your choice, 4 octaves hands together Strings All major scales – 3 octaves (Bass: 2 octaves) Melodic minor scales up to 4 sharps/flats, 3 octaves (Bass: 2 octaves) Winds All major/melodic minor scales up to 4 sharps/flats, 2 octaves Chromatic scale, 2 octaves preferred Percussion Scales on a mallet instrument Ability to play a roll (pp-ff) on snare drum • Sight Reading (required for all instrumentalists) Viola players should be prepared to read in TREBLE clef Cello, bassoon, and trombone players should be prepared to read in TENOR clef • Orchestral Excerpt Applicants will prepare an orchestral excerpt relevant to his/her instrument (downloaded from website) Trumpets and horns must be prepared to transpose Auditions are held in the spring and fall of each school year.
The alumni of this program number in the thousands. They regularly attend music schools and many are successful musicians in top orchestras around the world. Many of the Richmond-area music teachers also are alumni.
Halbruner, Aimee. "Slideshow of RSYO at the Kennedy Center." E-mail to Kristin Grasberger.3 June 2008.
"Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestras." Richmond Symphony. 2008. Richmond Symphony Orchestra. 8 Jun 2008 <http://www.richmondsymphony.com/youth_orch.asp>.