April 28, 2022

Pasadena, CA – The Pasadena Symphony Association is pleased to announce the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestras (PYSO) annual Spring Concert to be held at Ambassador Auditorium on Saturday, May 7. The free concert will feature all six PYSO ensembles showcasing the hard work and dedication they’ve put in throughout the academic year. This will be the first PYSO Spring Concert held live in-person in three years, since the pandemic shut down in-person performances in spring of 2020 and the PYSO turned to virtual, streamed concerts. All PYSO concerts are free and open to the public, and the orchestra welcomes the community to join their youth ensembles for a full day of free family fun!

“The PYSO Orchestras are so excited to welcome a live audience to our Spring Concert! Students have been diligently rehearsing all year to present this music to you. Hearing that amazing applause is the great reward for the musicians hard work, and it is what they have been missing so much over the past two years. Personally, it gives me such great pride to see these students achieve such a high level of musicianship and be able to share it with you.”

            – Jack Taylor, PYSO Symphony Conductor

The PYSO Spring Concert kicks off at 11:00am with performances by beginner ensembles Prelude Strings and All City Orchestra, which features a roster of students from across the Pasadena Unified School District, led by special guest conductor Heather Lockie. A highlight of the concert will be the PYSO Philharmonic’s 8:00pm performance of Dvorak’s beloved “New World” Symphony, conducted by the Pasadena Symphony’s Assistant Conductor, David Cubeck to cap off the music-filled day. Details of other ensemble performance times are listed below.

Ambassador Auditorium

To continue to protect the health and safety of our PYSO community, all attendees will be required to either provide proof of full Covid-19 vaccination or proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to the concert. We may ask all audience members and performers to wear masks. These policies may be updated per health department guidelines closer to the concert. For the most up to date safety protocols, visit: pasadenasymphony-pops.org/symphony-covid-safety/.

If You Go
  • What: Pasadena Symphony Youth Orchestras 2021-22 Spring Concert
  • When: Saturday, May 7. Individual ensemble times:
    • All City Orchestra and Prelude Strings: 11:00am
    • String Orchestra: 1:00pm
    • Symphony and Wind Ensemble: 5:00pm
    • Philharmonic: 8:00pm
  • Where: Ambassador Auditorium | 131 South St. John Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: Free parking is available next to the Auditorium (entrance on St. John Ave) at the covered Maranatha parking structure.
  • Proof of Vaccination: Attendees will be required to either provide proof of full Covid-19 vaccination or proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to the concert. We may ask all audience members and performers to wear masks. These policies may be updated per health department guidelines closer to the concert. For the most up to date safety protocols, visit: pasadenasymphony-pops.org/symphony-covid-safety/.
The Pasadena Symphony Association

Formed in 1928, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS is an ensemble of Hollywood’s most talented, sought after musicians.  With extensive credits in the film, television, recording and orchestral industry, the artists of Pasadena Symphony and POPS are the most heard in the world.

The Pasadena Symphony and POPS performs in two of the most extraordinary venues in the United States: Ambassador Auditorium, known as the Carnegie Hall of the West, and the luxuriant Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Garden. The multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein, leads the POPS as Principal Pops Conductor, succeeding Marvin Hamlisch.

A hallmark of its robust education programs, the Pasadena Symphony Association has served the youth of the region for over five decades through the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestras (PYSO) comprised of seven performing ensembles, with over 400 gifted 4th-12th grade students from all over Southern California. The PYSO Symphony has performed at venues across the globe as well as on the television show GLEE.

The PSA provides people from all walks of life with powerful access points to the world of symphonic music.

The Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO) has been training tomorrow’s leaders since 1972.  Now in its 50th year, PYSO is considered among the finest youth orchestras in the country and is the centerpiece of the Pasadena Symphony Association’s education program.

The PYSO serves students from 29 cities throughout Los Angeles County and the San Gabriel Valley, 17 school districts and 84 schools in both weekly afterschool ensemble rehearsals and supplemental in-class instruction within the Pasadena Unified School District.

Since its inception, the PYSO has toured internationally on many occasions to perform in some of the world’s greatest concert halls.

PYSO fosters dedication, excellence, fellowship, and passion in the development of those who are not only outstanding young musicians, but also outstanding young individuals. Our ensembles include All City Orchestra, Prelude Strings, Prelude Winds, Wind Ensemble, String Orchestra, Symphony, and Philharmonic.


PYSO Philharmonic
David Cubeck, conductor

Previously known as the Pasadena Young Musicians Orchestra (PYMO), the PYSO Philharmonic is our premier orchestra, comprised of the most advanced string, wind, and percussion players, and performs major symphonic works, the most difficult repertoire of the ensembles. Most musicians are in grades 9-12.


PYSO Symphony
Jack Taylor, conductor

The PYSO Symphony is an advanced-intermediate symphony orchestra, comprised of string, wind (including saxophone), and percussion players, that builds on a solid foundation of musicianship to expand students’ technical and rehearsal skills and includes intense orchestral training. Musicians are typically in grades 7-10 and repertoire includes classical works as well as arrangements.


PYSO String Orchestra
Pin Chen, conductor

The String Orchestra is an all-strings ensemble that provides intermediate to advanced violin, viola, cello, and string bass students a unique musical opportunity to experience vital musical growth, perform orchestral arrangements, and develop ensemble playing and technical skills. Musicians are typically in grades 6-9.

The String Orchestra provides a strong foundation for future orchestral playing experiences.

For specific pieces, the PYSO Wind Ensemble and String Orchestra will combine for rehearsal and performances, giving musicians the opportunity to perform within a full symphony setting. Students participating in String Orchestra have ensemble experience, musical style and expression, along with experience in vibrato and shifting.


PYSO Wind Ensemble
Gay Yearick, conductor

The PYSO Wind Ensemble is an intermediate to advanced winds ensemble for wind, brass, and percussion musicians that explores fun and challenging repertoire. This ensemble serves musicians by further developing their individual technical and ensemble skills that include scales, dynamics and articulation studies. Ensemble skills include matching intonation between sections and ensemble, blend and balance as it relates to wind ensemble repertoire.  Most students are in grades 6-9.

For specific pieces, the PYSO Wind Ensemble and String Orchestra will combine for rehearsal and performances, giving musicians the opportunity to perform within a full symphony setting.


Prelude Strings
Kyle Smith, conductor

Prelude Strings is an intermediate-beginning level all-strings ensemble to develop technical and foundational skills. This group stresses listening and teamwork skills, and provides a strong foundation for future orchestral playing experiences.  Most students are in grades 6-7 and have been playing for at least two years or have completed the All City Orchestra program.


PYSO All City Orchestra
Heather Lockie, conductor

The All City Orchestra is an education initiative launched by the Pasadena Symphony Association in 2012 for students of the Pasadena Unified School District. The program provides small group and full ensemble instruction for students in partnership with school district faculty. This tuition-free ensemble is only eligible for PUSD students in the 3rd to 6th grades enrolled in their school music programs.

David Cubeck
Pasadena Symphony Assistant Conductor/PYSO Philharmonic Conductor

David Cubeck has been the director of the Claremont Concert Orchestra of Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges since 2010. He also serves as Assistant Conductor of the Pasadena Symphony, Conductor of the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra Philharmonic, and Conductor of new music ensemble Fonema Consort. In addition to being passionate about conducting and teaching, he is a firm believer in the power of music to foster social change. Mr. Cubek has conducted various ensembles from Venezuela’s admired music education program known as El Sistema, including the internationally recognized Teresa Carreño and Simón Bolívar symphony orchestras. In the United States, he has also collaborated with El Sistema inspired programs such as YOLA (Los Angeles), OrchKids (Baltimore), and Harmony Program (NYC).​

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Mr. Cubek began private piano and composition lessons at the age of 7 before entering the Simón Bolívar Conservatory. In 1999, he moved to Montreal to continue his music education, studying piano and music theory at McGill University and orchestral conducting at the Conservatory of Montreal. At the latter institution, he was awarded First Prize with Great Distinction in orchestral conducting. Mr. Cubek completed his doctoral studies in orchestral conducting at Northwestern University, where he served as assistant and guest conductor of the opera program, and the Chamber and Symphony Orchestras. He was music director of the University of Chicago Chamber Orchestra and a lecturer in music theory at both Northwestern and McGill. In addition, Mr. Cubek has led ensembles in Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Italy, Mexico, and Ukraine. In California, recent engagements include guest appearances with the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra and the Eastern Sierra Symphony (Mammoth Lakes).

A recipient of Scripps College’s Mary W. Johnson Award for excellence in teaching, Mr. Cubek is an enthusiastic advocate of new music. At the Claremont Colleges, he regularly teaches classes based on 20th- and 21st-century repertoires. As conductor of Fonema Consort, he sustains an active international concert schedule focused on premiering new compositions.

Jack Taylor
PYSO Symphony Conductor

Jack Taylor, now in his 13th year as Conductor of Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra, received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from USC and attained a Master’s in Education from Southern Oregon University. Currently, he serves as Music Director at Oak Avenue Intermediate School, Bellis Music Camp, and the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band. As music teacher for over 20 years, his accolades include: Teacher of the Year (Oak Avenue Intermediate School, T.C.U.S.D.) and the Honorary Service Award (Temple City PTA). He was given Department Honors in Music Education (USC); the Distinguished Service Award (Freelancers Drum and Bugle Corp, Sacramento); the Tournament of Roses Award for Outstanding Ability and Contribution. In addition, his groups have continually earned Superior ratings at S.C.S.B.O.A. festivals.

Mr. Taylor’s educational influence has reached all over the globe as he has conducted concerts in Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic as well as guest conducted numerous honor groups here in the United States.  In addition, He has served in New Zealand as a Guest Conductor for Auckland Junior Philharmonic Summer Orchestra.

Jack Taylor lives in Monrovia with his wife Lisa and his two children. He enjoys spending time with his family as well as being involved at his church and community.