Youth Ensembles

The mission of the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Ensembles (SRSYE) is to offer young musicians an exceptional educational experience by providing the finest quality orchestral training and performance opportunities in Sonoma County. Our goal is for young musicians to develop an awareness and appreciation of great music in the context of learning responsibility and teamwork, while they participate in our community through public performance. Students can begin instruments as young as five years old at our Summer Music Academy, and remain in our training programs as they excel, into their first years of college.

Read about each ensemble by selecting the tabs below:

Ensemble nameEnsemble typeLevelAge rangeRehearsalsAuditions
Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra (SRSYO)Full OrchestraAdvanced12-23Thursday eveningsLevel 3 Audition Packet
Young People’s Chamber Orchestra (YPCO)String EnsembleAdvanced10-23Monday eveningsLevel 3 Audition Packet
Aspirante Youth Orchestra (AYO)Full OrchestraIntermediate/Advanced10-18Saturday morning/afternoonsLevel 2 Audition Packet
Debut Youth Orchestra (DYO)Full OrchestraBeginner/Intermediate8-15Saturday morningsLevel 1 Audition Packet
String Orchestra Workshop (SOW)String classesBeginners5-adultSaturday morningsNo Audition Required
Saturday Morning Jazz Jazz EnsembleIntermediate/AdvancedSaturday morningsAuditions held the first day of rehearsal

Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra

For advanced players ages 12 yrs–23 yrs*

Thursdays 6:00 pm-9:00 pm


*(exceptional students accepted)

The Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra (SRSYO) comprises advanced students, typically 12-23 years of age, who are studying privately and have had previous orchestral training. Many members started in the Debut Youth Orchestra and earned their position in the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra through growth, experience and skill.

The Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra is among the oldest orchestras of its kind in California and has performed in Carnegie Hall and Davies Symphony Hall. The orchestra has toured in Germany, the Czech Republic, China, Austria, Hungary and Spain.

Members typically have more performing opportunities than students in the Debut and Aspirante Youth Orchestras and must be committed to a regular routine of rehearsals, private lessons, and at-home practice. Music performed is from the standard orchestral repertoire.

Formed in October 1959, as the Sonoma County Junior Symphony, under the direction of founding conductor Eugene Shepherd, the orchestra’s name was changed, in 1994, to the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra and is currently led by Bobby Rogers, previously Conductor of the Aspirante Youth Orchestra. 

The SRSYO has helped prepare musicians who have pursued a professional music career with numerous professional ensembles throughout California and beyond, including the Santa Rosa Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Oakland Symphony, Musica Angelica, Sacramento Symphony, Napa Valley Symphony, and more. 

SRSYO Alumni Concert & Reception – June 8, 2024

Alumni, teachers, friends and family of SRSYO members past and present are invited to the celebration! Join us on Saturday, June 8, 2024 at 3:00 PM at Jackson Theater, Sonoma Country Day School

SRSYO Tour 2025

Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra is going on tour to Germany & the Netherlands in June 2025!

SRSYO Concerto Competition

The Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition is open to Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra members.

We gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions from the following:

The Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra is sponsored by Nancy Doyle, MD in memory of her father Edward S. Doyle


Young People’s Chamber Orchestra

For advanced string players 10 yrs-23 yrs

Mondays 6:00 pm-8:30 pm



The Young People’s Chamber Orchestra, a string orchestra working without a conductor, is designed to take accomplished young string players and mold them into high-functioning musicians with a complete attentiveness to detail and to each other within the context of the music. The director trains the musicians to interact and collaborate on high-level music-making and nuanced performance.

This orchestra is for students up to 23 years of age who are studying privately and have had previous orchestral training. It is modeled after the Bay Area’s renowned New Century Chamber Orchestra and is the first youth ensemble of its kind in northern California.

All members of the Young People’s Chamber Orchestra are strongly encouraged to be enrolled in another of the Santa Rosa Symphony ensembles or their school’s orchestra, and must be committed to a strict routine of rehearsals, private lessons and at-home practice.

Established in 1998, the Young People’s Chamber Orchestra was formed under the direction of Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca, who led this ensemble until 2008.

Currently under the direction of Aaron Westman, the orchestra has been featured as a guest on a New Century Chamber Orchestra performance and has been a winner of the Berkeley Junior Bach Festival.

We gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions from the following:

The Young People’s Chamber Orchestra is sponsored by Garth Bixler


Aspirante Youth Orchestra

For intermediate to advanced players ages 9 yrs-18 yrs

Saturdays 11:00 am-1:00 pm

Coaching bi-weekly 10:00-10:50 am


The Santa Rosa Symphony Aspirante Youth Orchestra expands musical experience by providing an opportunity for intermediate to advanced students to perform a wide variety of repertoire within a full orchestra.

Founded in 1994 as the Discovery Orchestra under the baton of William R. Williams, the ensemble was renamed the Repertory Orchestra in 2011, and then again renamed the Santa Rosa Symphony Aspirante Youth Orchestra in 2018. 

It is currently conducted by Julio Reyes.

To qualify, students must have been playing their instrument a minimum of three years and have prior ensemble experience of at least one year in Debut Youth Orchestra or equivalent.

Aspirante Youth Orchestra members are expected to have private instruction on their instrument and follow a regular practice routine.

Approximate age of orchestra members is 12-18 years.

Listen to Aspirante Youth Orchestra:

We gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions from the following:

The Aspirante Youth Orchestra is sponsored by Jennifer & Donavon Ammons


Debut Youth Orchestra

For beginning to intermediate players 8 yrs-15 yrs

Saturdays 9:15 am-10:45 am

Coaching bi-weekly 11:00-11:45 am


The Santa Rosa Symphony Debut Youth Orchestra provides a solid foundation for younger students to learn to play within a full orchestra under the direction of a professional conductor. Students learn to follow the lead of a conductor, understand music notation, style and gain experience performing before live audiences.

The Debut Youth Orchestra was formed as the Preparatory Orchestra under the direction of Jack Murphy in 1977.

It is currently conducted by Matt Bringedahl.

To qualify, students must have played their instrument for a minimum of two years. Some prior ensemble training or experience in a performing group is also desirable.

It is strongly recommended that all members be studying their instrument with a private teacher and practice their instrument regularly.

Debut students typically may be as old as 15 years.

We gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions from the following:

Santa Rosa Symphony Debut Youth Orchestra sponsored by Gordon Blumenfeld
Savannah Hill Music Scholarship Fund


String Orchestra Workshop

For beginners 5 years – adult (no audition required)

Saturdays 9:00 am-10:00 am, or 10:00 am-11:00 am (by assignment)


The String Orchestra Workshop provides beginning musicians with an opportunity to learn to play with others in a small ensemble, preparing musicians for the full-orchestra experience. Musicians who are brand new to violin, viola, cello and bass, as well as those who have been playing any of these instruments for up to one year, are encouraged to enroll.

Players work directly with string coaches, and the smaller group allows for greater personal attention, building strong foundational skills.

The current instructors of String Orchestra Workshop are Jeanette Isenberg and Karen Zimmerman.

Session I: 12 meetings from September through December
Session II: 14 meetings from January through April

Please email SOW manager Jennifer Vaughn, for more information.


Jazz Ensemble

For intermediate to advanced students of any instrument

Saturdays 9:30 am-11:00 am


Saturday Morning Jazz Ensemble is for intermediate to advanced students of any instrument who want to experience jazz in both large ensemble and small combo settings, with opportunities for improvising, under the direction of the dynamic bassist and educator Robert Bowman.

This ensemble was founded in 2022 following the success of the Summer Music Academy Jazz Ensemble course.

Limited opportunities for vocalists are offered on a case-by-case basis.

For more information, please contact Jazz Ensemble Director Robert BowmanSRSYE.Jazz@gmail.com707-953-7643.