Applications

PYSO IS NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR 2022-2023, OUR 50TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON! 

Auditions will take place in-person on Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22, 2022.

All students (new and current) are required to audition for the 2022/23 season.

There is an audition fee of $30 per application. This audition fee is waived for those in a Pasadena Unified School District music program or for those who require financial assistance. 

You will be considered for all PYSO ensembles regardless of the orchestra selected on the application. You should be as accurate as possible when selecting an orchestra to audition for as it helps us send you to the correct faculty member. Our experienced PYSO faculty will place students at the orchestra level where they will be most successful. Sometimes that may be an orchestra above or below the level for which you wished to be considered. 

If you have any questions, please contact Alex Chu, Director of Education and Community Engagement, at [email protected]

Audition requirements for 2022-23 are outlined under the tabs below.

REQUIREMENTS AT A GLANCE:

Explore the tabs above for detailed requirements of each Program

  Philharmonic Symphony String Orchestra Wind Ensemble Prelude Strings
Type of Orchestra  Full  Full String Instruments Only  Wind, Brass, and Percussion Instruments Only String Instruments Only
Strings X X X    
Winds/Brass X X   X X
Percussion X X   X  
Skill Level Most Advanced Advanced Intermediate Intermediate Beginner-Intermediate
# of Concerts per Year 2+ 2+ 2 2 2
Commitment Level Very High High Moderate-High Moderate-High Moderate
Rehearsal Days Sunday Tuesday Monday Tuesday Monday

Audition Expectations

Previous ensemble experience. See the requirements for each instrument group outlined below.

Strings

  • Three-octave scale in key of your choice, memorized,  ascending and descending, played at a minimum tempo of one quarter note per pitch at 120 bpm, preferably with 2 or more notes per bow. 
  • On the day of the audition, you will be asked to perform an additional three-octave scale, memorized, ascending and descending, of the judge’s choice. Students should be able to play all 3-octave major scales through four sharps and four flats and the following 2 octave melodic minor scales: a, d, e, g, b, c, and f.
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces: recommended solo length: 5 minutes. Without accompaniment. 
  • Prepared excerpt(s) below:
  • Sight-reading

Woodwinds 

  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note, ascending and descending, slurred, all notes even
  • On the day of the audition, you will be asked to perform an additional 2 octave scale, memorized, ascending and descending, all notes completely articulated. Students should be able to play all 2-octave major scales through four sharps and four flats and 2-octave melodic minor scales through two sharps and two flats. 
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces.  Recommended solo length: 5 minutes. Without accompaniment. 
  • Prepared excerpt(s) below:
  • Sight-reading

Brass

  • Chromatic scale from your lowest comfortable note to highest note, ascending and descending
  • On the day of the audition, you will be asked to perform an additional 2 octave scale, memorized, ascending and descending. Students should be able to play all 2-octave major scales through four sharps and four flats and 2-octave melodic minor scales through two sharps and two flats. 
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces. Recommended solo length: 5 minutes. Without accompaniment. 
  • Prepared excerpt(s) below:
  • Sight-reading

Percussion

  • Snare drum single stroke. (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly)
  • Snare drum roll approximately for 20 seconds, (ppp for 3 sec, then gradual crescendo, keep fff for 5 sec, then gradual diminuendo to ppp, keep the ppp for 3 sec.)
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice on two or more of the following instruments to represent your skill level: Timpani, Snare Drum, Mallets (Bells or Xylophone).
  • Prepared excerpt(s) below
  • Sight-reading

Type of Orchestra
Full
# of Concerts per Year
2+
Commitment Level
Very High
Practice Schedule
Sunday | 6:00pm-8:00pm | Pasadena City College, Pasadena
Skill Level
Most Advanced


Audition Expectations

Previous ensemble experience. See the requirements for each instrument group outlined below.

Strings

  • Three-octave scale in key of your choice, memorized,  ascending and descending, played at a minimum tempo of one quarter note per pitch at 120 bpm, preferably with 2 or more notes per bow. 
  • On the day of the audition, you will be asked to perform an additional three-octave scale, memorized, ascending and descending, of the judge’s choice. Students should be able to play all 3-octave major scales through three sharps and three flats and the following 1 octave melodic minor scales: a, d, e, g, b, c, and f.
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces: recommended solo length: 5 minutes. Without accompaniment. 
  • Sight-reading

Woodwinds 

  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note, ascending and descending, slurred, all notes even
  • On the day of the audition, you will be asked to perform an additional 2 octave scale, memorized, ascending and descending, all notes completely articulated. Students should be able to play all 2-octave major scales through three sharps and three flats.
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces. Recommended solo length: 5 minutes. Without accompaniment. 
  • Sight-reading

Brass

  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note, ascending and descending, slurred, all notes even
  • On the day of the audition, you will be asked to perform an additional 2 octave scale, memorized, ascending and descending, all notes completely articulated. Students should be able to play all 2-octave major scales through three sharps and three flats.
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces. Recommended solo length: 5 minutes. Without accompaniment. 
  • Sight-reading

Percussion

  • Snare drum single stroke. (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly)
  • Snare drum roll approximately for 20 seconds, (ppp for 3 sec, then gradual crescendo, keep fff for 5 sec, then gradual diminuendo to ppp, keep the ppp for 3 sec.)
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice on two or more of the following instruments to represent your skill level: Timpani, Snare Drum, Mallets (Bells or Xylophone).
  • Sight-reading

Type of Orchestra
Full
# of Concerts per Year
2+
Commitment Level
High
Practice Schedule
Tuesday | 5:15pm-7:45pm | Pasadena High School
Skill Level
Advanced

Audition Expectations

Previous ensemble experience. See the requirements for each instrument group outlined below.

Strings

  • 2 octave (or more) scale in key of your choice, memorized,  ascending and descending, played at a tempo of one quarter note per pitch at 120 bpm, with 2 notes per bow. 
  • On the day of the audition, you will be asked to perform an additional two-octave scale, memorized, ascending and descending, of the judge’s choice. Students should be able to play the following:
    • Violin:
      • 2-octave major: C,G,D,A, B♭
      • 2-octave melodic minor: a,d
      • 1-octave major: F
      • 1-octave minor: e
    • Viola/Cello:
      • 2-octave major: C, D, F, G
      • 2-octave melodic minor: e,d
      • 1-octave major: A, B♭
      • 1-octave: a
    • Bass:
      • 2-octave major: F, G
      • 1-octave: C, D, A, B♭
      • 1-octave minor: e, a, d
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces. Recommended solo length: 3-5 minutes. Without accompaniment. 
  • Sight-reading

Type of Orchestra
String Instruments Only
# of Concerts per Year
2
Commitment Level
Moderate-High
Practice Schedule
Monday | 5:15pm-7:30pm | Pasadena High School
Skill Level
Intermediate

Audition Expectations

Previous ensemble experience. See the requirements for each instrument group outlined below.

Woodwinds 

  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note, ascending and descending, slurred, all notes even
  • On the day of the audition, you will be asked to perform an additional major scale, memorized, ascending and descending, all notes completely articulated. Students should be able to play all 2-octave major scales through three sharps and three flats.
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces. Recommended solo length: 3-5 minutes. Without accompaniment.
  • Sight-reading

Brass

  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note, ascending and descending, slurred, all notes even
  • On the day of the audition, you will be asked to perform an additional major scale, memorized, ascending and descending, all notes completely articulated. Students should be able to play all 1-octave major scales through three sharps and three flats.
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces. Recommended solo length: 3-5 minutes. Without accompaniment. 
  • Sight-reading

Percussion

  • Snare drum single stroke. (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly)
  • Snare drum roll approximately for 20 seconds, (ppp for 3 sec, then gradual crescendo, keep fff for 5 sec, then gradual diminuendo to ppp, keep the ppp for 3 sec.)
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice on two or more of the following instruments to represent your skill level: Timpani, Snare Drum, Mallets (Bells or Xylophone).
  • Sight-reading

Type of Orchestra
Wind, Brass, Percussion Instruments Only
# of Concerts per Year
2
Commitment Level
Moderate-High
Practice Schedule
Tuesday | 5:15pm-7:30pm | Pasadena High School
Skill Level
Intermediate

Audition Expectations

Musicians must be reading notes.

Strings

  • 1 octave scale in key of your choice, memorized,  ascending and descending, preferably with 2 or more notes per bow. 
  • On the day of the audition, you will be asked to perform an additional 1 octave scale, memorized, ascending and descending, of the judge’s choice. Students should be able to play all 1-octave scales through two sharps and one flat.
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces. Recommended solo length: 3-5 minutes. Without accompaniment.
  • Sight-reading

Type of Orchestra
Full
# of Concerts per Year
2
Commitment Level
Moderate-High
Practice Schedule
Monday | 5:00pm-6:30pm | Pasadena High School
Skill Level
Beginner-Intermediate
Frequently Asked Questions

All public, parochial, private and home school students in grades 6-12 are eligible to audition for PYSO. PYSO is an enhancement to existing school programs, not a substitute. PYSO strongly encourages all musicians to participate in their school music program. Private lessons are also encouraged.

Yes, there is a non-refundable $30 fee to audition for PYSO. Please bring a check with you on the audition day made out to “PYSO”.

When you arrive at Oak Avenue Intermediate School, please visit the check- in table and we will direct you to the warm-up space. When it is time for your audition, a volunteer will escort you to the audition room.

The audition panel will consist of 1-2 judges. These judges may be a PYSO conductor, coach, or other member of the PYSO community. Your audition will last for approximately 15 minutes.

During your audition, you may be asked to stop playing and move on to another solo, scale, or sight reading piece. This is a common occurrence and does not reflect upon your performance. You may also be asked about your other playing experiences, including participation in your school program and your private lessons.

On the audition application we ask which PYSO ensemble you are auditioning for. This assists PYSO staff when scheduling specific audition times with members of the audition panel. During your audition, you will be considered for all PYSO ensembles. For example, even if you select the “String Orchestra” as your preferred ensemble, you will also be considered for the Symphony and the Philharmonic.

No, your solo piece for the PYSO audition does not need to be memorized. Please bring a second copy of the solo part for the audition panel.

No, PYSO auditions are performed un-accompanied.

On the application, please note if you have certain restrictions and need to be placed at a specific time range (morning, afternoon, not on Saturday, etc). While we try and accommodate all requests, please be flexible and provide multiple availabilities.

On the application, please note if you are carpooling with another applicant to the audition. We do our best to accommodate requests.

Audition times will be distributed via email on or before Wednesday, May 11th. If you apply after May 11th, you will be notified of your audition time approximately two-three days after you complete your application. Watch for an email from Mr. Alex Chu, Manager, at [email protected].

Auditions take place at Oak Avenue Intermediate School (6623 Oak Ave, Temple City, CA 91780). Plan to arrive approximately 30 minutes before your audition to allow for adequate warm-up time.

There is a communal warm-up room at the audition location. There is also a seating area for family members.

While there is no uniform to audition, neat dress is appreciated! We recommend students wear nice clothes that are comfortable to perform in. This is the first impression you are making on the audition panel, which will include PYSO conductors and coaches.

The primary criterion for placement is the student’s playing. The audition panel evaluates students’ tone, intonation, rhythm, musicality, and technique on the solo piece, scale, and the sight reading. Instrumentation needs for the ensembles may also be considered. PYSO does not place students based upon their grade level. All placements are final.

Results will be sent via US Mail in June.