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Civic Youth Ensembles logo

Since 1970, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE) have provided Michigan's musicians of all ages a comprehensive music education experience. CYE's two-fold mission is to cultivate every student's artistic and creative potential through rewarding musical experiences while continuing to develop meaningful skills outside of the arts.

The CYE Faculty believes music can provide youth with the necessary tools to develop important life skills: critical and analytical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication, and teamwork. They believe that students can discover success no matter what path in life they choose.


FULL ORCHESTRAS

Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra
Saturdays 1:00p-4:00p

Founded in 1970, The DSYO is the premier youth orchestra in the CYE. Through advanced orchestral repertoire, students are challenged to perform at professional levels, to strive for advanced musicianship and to continue to enhance their superior technical and musical ensemble playing. Open to advanced strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion musicians of high school through college undergraduate ages.

Philharmonic Orchestra
Saturdays 1:00p-3:30p 

Founded in 2004, the Philharmonic Orchestra builds upon the great tradition of musical training provided by the Civic Youth Ensembles. Philharmonic offers advanced musicians the opportunity to experience challenging repertoire while continuing to develop their musicianship and is open to advanced strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion musicians of high school ages. Repertoire includes standard full symphonic literature works, in addition to several world premieres commissioned especially for the orchestra.

Concert Orchestra
Saturdays 10:45a-12:45p 

Founded in 2011, Concert Orchestra provides training for intermediate-level middle and high school students. Students in Concert Orchestra will receive deeper instruction and preparation for moving forward in their musical endeavors. Concert Orchestra is designed to meet the growing need of orchestral training beyond their school programs, taking students from the entry level ensemble and challenging them, preparing them for high-level performances on Orchestra Hall Stage.

WIND BANDS

Detroit Symphony Youth Wind Ensembles
Saturdays 10:45a-12:45p 

The DSYWE provides opportunities to study and perform works from the wind repertoire of the sixteenth through the twenty-first centuries. DSYWE students study instrumental works in a broad range of styles, as well as world premieres including pieces for full wind ensemble and chamber music. Open to advanced level wind, brass and percussion musicians, this ensemble provides students with opportunity to perform intensive and demanding repertoire.

Symphonic Band
Saturdays 8:30a-10:30a 

Open to intermediate and advanced level wind, brass and percussion players in middle through high school, the Symphonic Band provides students the opportunity to develop musicianship, refine performance skills and develop responsible rehearsal habits through the study of core wind band literature.

Flute Ensemble
Saturdays 1:30p-3:00p 

The CYE Flute Ensemble provides emerging flute players the opportunity to focus on rudimentary ensemble techniques in a methodical way that allows for advancement for those that have limited experience playing in an orchestral setting, while providing a performance outlet for beginner and early intermediate students.

STRING ORCHESTRAS

Sinfonia String Orchestra
Saturdays 8:30a-10:30a 

Created in 1999, the Sinfonia String Orchestra provides emerging musicians high-quality musical training. Open to Intermediate string musicians in middle and high school, this ensemble provides students with opportunity to perform challenging repertoire designed to enhance their music education.

Arco & Pizzicato String Ensembles
Saturdays 8:30a-10:30a 

Arco and Pizzicato offer an excellent launching pad into the world of orchestral performance. These ensembles focus on the presentation of rudimentary ensemble techniques in a methodical way that allows for advancement for those that have limited experience playing in an orchestral setting, while providing a performance outlet for beginners.

JAZZ BANDS

Civic Jazz Orchestra
Saturdays 9:30a-11:30a 

Civic Jazz Orchestra provides students advanced experience in performing music of varying styles from the standard modern jazz repertoire. Open to advanced piano, guitar, bass, brass, woodwinds, and percussion musicians of senior high school ages.

Concert Jazz Band
Saturdays 12:00p-2:00p 

Concert Jazz Band emphasizes jazz ensemble skills including section playing, improvisation, and theory while performing big band standards and jazz classics. Jazz Concert Band is designed for intermediate-level jazz students in piano, guitar, bass, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, and percussion.

Creative Jazz Ensemble
Saturdays 11:00a-1:00p 

Creative Jazz Ensemble opens the doors of the jazz world to all intermediate to advanced students including those outside the traditional jazz instrumentation such as strings, oboe, bassoon, flute, clarinet, horn, euphonium, and tuba. Students in the Creative Jazz Ensemble have the unique opportunity to enhance their understanding of jazz theory and improvisation in a non-traditional setting. These students receive a truly unique musical experience, performing exciting and innovative customized arrangements of jazz classics and new favorites.

Auditions are open to all elementary through high school instrumental music student and they are expected to be enrolled in their school music program, if available. All interested musicians must audition, regardless of previous association with Civic Youth Ensembles.

If a musician would like to audition on more than one instrument or for both the jazz and classical programs they must schedule separate audition times for each instrument/genre.

Auditions are scheduled at 15-minute intervals, recorded, and then heard by an adjudication panel consisting of DSO artistic staff and Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians. All audition results are final.

To schedule an audition, please contact the Wu Family Academy staff at civic@dso.org or (313) 576-5060. Please note that there is a $25 application fee.

AUDITION REQUIREMENTS

Civic Youth Ensembles

The Civic Youth Ensembles are classified into three different levels—Premier, Advanced and Intermediate—with each level requiring a different set of audition requirements:

Intermediate

Arco String Orchestra◊
Sinfonia String Orchestra◊
Concert Orchestra◊
Creative Jazz Ensemble*

Suggested 2-3 years of playing experience

Advanced

Philharmonic Orchestra◊
Symphonic Band◊
Concert Jazz Band*

Suggested 3-5 years of playing experience with private lessons

Premier

Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra◊
Detroit Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble◊
Civic Jazz Orchestra*

Suggested 5+ years of playing experience with private lessons

◊Requires classical audition requirement  |  *Requires jazz audition requirement 


Classical Audition Requirements 

Intermediate

Requirement 1:
One two-octave major scale up to three sharps/flats (chosen by moderator);

Requirement 2:
One sight reading excerpt (provided at audition);

Requirement 3:
An unaccompanied etude or solo work that best represents student's technical and artistic skills—no more than 3 minutes in length.

Advanced

Requirement 1:
2 two-octave major scales up to five sharps/flats (chosen by moderator);

Requirement 2:
One sight reading excerpt (provided at audition);

Requirement 3:
An unaccompanied etude or solo work that best represents student's technical and artistic skills—no more than 3 minutes in length;

Requirement 4:
2016-17 Advanced Excerpt (see below).

Premier

Requirement 1:
2 three-octave major scales up to seven sharps/flats (chosen by moderator);

Requirement 2:
One sight reading excerpt (provided at audition);

Requirement 3:
An unaccompanied etude or solo work that best represents student's technical and artistic skills—no more than 3 minutes in length;

Requirement 4:
2016-17 Advanced Excerpt (see below);

Requirement 5:
2016-17 Premier Excerpt (see below).

Please note: Students should audition for the highest level ensemble for which they would like to be considered.
Students will automatically be considered for a different level if they do not make their top choice.


Jazz Audition Requirements

All Levels

Requirement 1:
Three prepared jazz excerpts (see below);

Requirement 2:
Two one-octave major scales up to three sharps/flats (chosen by moderator at audition);

Requirement 3:
One sight reading excerpt.


Audition Excerpts for Download

Many answers to questions can be found in the CYE Handbook. For questions not found in the CYE Handbook or website, please email civic@dso.org.

Q: How do I apply for financial aid?

A: Any student eligible for reduced or free lunch at a public school is eligible for financial aid. Documentation from the student’s school should be attached to the financial aid application. If the student does not attend a public school, you are still welcome to apply by attaching a tax document that shows their household’s adjusted gross income (AGI) to the financial aid application. Financial aid applications are made available to all students once they are given a placement in an ensemble.

Q: How does the audition process work?

A: Please refer to our audition requirements tab above to review the guidelines for our various ensembles. Auditions take place live at both Orchestra Hall and at select locations in metro Detroit during the spring and summer and are “blind” to ensure fairness. Auditions are audio recorded and then reviewed by DSO musicians and CYE faculty and staff.

Q: Is it possible my student can move up to a more advanced group after they receive their placement for the year?

A: Decisions regarding ensemble placements are final. However, if a spot in one of groups is vacated mid-season, it is possible that the CYE staff may ask a student from other groups to cover a part in another ensemble.

Q: When are the concerts?

A: A copy of the 2016-2017 CYE performances will be accessible online soon! For now, please browse our full calendar.

Q: When and where are rehearsals held?

A: Rehearsals are held in the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Center located at 3711 Woodward Avenue Detroit, Michigan 48230. Venue changes will be communicated via email prior to rehearsal. Rehearsal times for each ensemble will be posted online soon.

Q: How do I report an absence?

To report an absence, late arrival or early departure you must submit an attendance notification form. Students must report an absence at least two weeks in advance. For emergency absences please fill out a request form (at your earliest convenience), in addition to emailing civic@dso.org. Please provide as much notice as possible.

> Attendance Notification Form

Q: Where can I manage my active account?

> Log-In Here

Q: Can I place an advertisement in a CYE program?

Yes! Advertising in our CYE program books is available for organizations and businesses to promote events or offerings by filling out the CYE Program Ad Order Form. Please note that student pages for parents to purchase for graduating high school seniors is only available on select program dates.