<August 2019>


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.

Join the Civic Youth Ensembles

There are ensembles of many sizes, genres, and age levels you can be a part of. Find out more below.

Your Stage Awaits With CYE

For nearly 50 years, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, through its Civic Youth Ensembles, has committed itself to educational excellence by providing students with life-changing musical experiences. This strengthens the DSO’s mission of enriching existing music education opportunities in the region while simultaneously creating one-of-a-kind opportunities for its students—providing a vast and rich musical tapestry that the entire community can enjoy.

Since 1970, the Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE) has offered training and performance opportunities for all ages and ability levels—from elementary school students through young adults. All members of CYE benefit from engaging one-on-one interactions with DSO musicians and internationally renowned artists, while performing in the state-of-the-art facilities of the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center—including historic Orchestra Hall.

CYE’s mission is to foster the development of every student’s artistic and creative potential. CYE Faculty believe music can provide youth with the necessary tools to develop important life skills, such as critical and analytical thinking, creative problem solving, and effective communication and teamwork—helping them discover success no matter what path in life they choose. We invite you to join our ever-expanding Civic Youth Ensembles family.


Visit wufamilyacademy.org/cyeauditions to schedule a free audition today!

The Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE) offers a variety of performance ensemble experiences for all levels. These are separated into two types of ensembles a student can audition for: Experience Ensembles and Showcase Ensembles. Please review the information below to determine which ensemble is the best fit.

Auditions are open to all music students, who are expected to be enrolled in a school music program, if available. If a student 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 and category.

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.

Civic Philharmonic Orchestra

Saturdays 10:45a-12:45p

Founded in 2004, the Civic Philharmonic Orchestra builds upon the great tradition of musical training provided by the Civic Youth Ensembles. Civic 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.

Wind Bands

Detroit Symphony Youth Wind Ensembles

Saturdays 1:00p-3:30p

The DSYWE provides opportunities to study and perform works from the wind repertoire of the 16th through the 21st 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.

Civic Symphonic Band

Saturdays 8:30a-10:30a

Open to intermediate and advanced level wind, brass, and percussion players in middle through high school, the Civic 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.

Civic Concert Band

Saturdays 11:00a-12:30p

The Civic Concert Band is the CYE's introductory level wind band designed to give wind, brass, and percussion students experience in an ensemble setting by rehearsing fundamental ensemble skills side by side with peers and performing in historic Orchestra Hall.

String Orchestras

Civic Concert Orchestra

Saturdays 10:45p-12:45p

Founded in 2011, Civic Concert Orchestra provides training for intermediate-level middle and high school students. Students in Civic Concert Orchestra will receive deeper instruction and preparation for moving forward in their musical endeavors. Civic 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.

Civic Sinfonia String Orchestra

Saturdays 8:30a-10:30a

Created in 1999, the Civic 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 the opportunity to perform challenging repertoire designed to enhance their music education.

Civic Arco String Orchestra

Saturdays 8:30a-10:30a

The Civic Arco String Orchestra 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 of those who have limited experience playing in an orchestral setting, while providing a performance outlet for beginners.

Pizzicato String Ensemble

Saturdays 9:00a-10:30a

The Pizzicato String Ensemble offers an excellent launching pad into the world of orchestral performance by focusing on the presentation of rudimentary ensemble techniques in a methodical way that allows for advancement of those who have limited experience playing in an orchestral setting, while providing a performance outlet for beginners.

Jazz Bands

Civic Jazz Orchestra

Mondays 6:00p-9:00p

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.

Civic Jazz Band

Mondays 6:00p-9:00p

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

Creative Jazz Ensemble

Mondays 6:00p-9:00p

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.

Detroit Symphony Youth Chorale

The Civic Youth Ensembles and the Detroit Children’s Choir is proud to announce the 2017-2018 Inaugural Detroit Symphony Youth Chorale (DSYC)! This new experience will provide choral students from all over the region the opportunity to perform professional-level literature in Orchestra Hall, while getting the opportunity to interact with and learn from professional musicians. This advanced choir will give students the chance to explore literature of all kinds and enhance their current choir experiences.

Any questions about auditions or any of our ensembles should be directed towards the Civic Youth Ensembles staff by emailing cye@dso.org or calling (313) 576-5060.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I apply for financial aid?

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 do I audition for Civic Youth Ensembles?

A: Audition excerpts requirements can be found via the following link: wufamilyacademy.org/cyeauditions. Auditions take place live at both Orchestra Hall and at select locations in metro Detroit. All CYE auditions 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: No, decisions regarding your student's ensemble placement are final.

Q: When are the concerts?

A: Each CYE ensemble's performances are listed on their respective ensemble calendars. By visiting wufamilyacademy.org/cyeensembles, you can select your ensemble and access your group's season calendar on their respective page. Ensemble calendars for the next season are posted in mid-June. .

Q: When and where are rehearsals held?

A: Rehearsals are held in the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Center located at 3711 Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, Michigan. Specific room assignments will be communicated via the weekly CYE Corkboard email distributed on Thursday. You can find your ensemble's specific rehearsal time by visiting their respective ensemble pages by visiting the following link: wufamilyacademy.org/cyeensembles.

Q: How do I report an absence?

Absences can be reported by submitted an Absence Notification Form by visiting your ensemble's respective webpage. You can find your ensemble's respective page by visiting the following link: wufamilyacademy.org/cyeensembles.

Q: Where can I manage my active account?

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.

Many answers to questions can be found in the CYE Handbook. For any additional questions, feel free to contact the CYE Staff either by email (cye@dso.org) or phone (313-576-5060).