top of page

PROGRAMS FOR 2023-2024


Welcoming students from grade 4 through12.


The most advanced orchestra comprised of strings, winds, brass, and percussion.

Conductor: Jonathan Yates


Full orchestra comprised of strings, winds, brass, and percussion.

Conductor: Steven Huang


Mid-level string orchestra.

Conductor: Jessica McNamara


Winds, brass, and percussion develop their skills.

Conductor: Barry Zhou


Entry-level orchestra for string players. 

Conductor: Aaron Lofaro


All-brass group. 

Conductor: Open Position


Trios, quartets, and quintets. 

Various Conductors.


Music Theory and Aural Skills, Music Appreciation, and Seminars. 




The Principal Orchestra is Norwalk Youth Symphony's most advanced ensemble and is comprised of players who demonstrate highly advanced technical and musical ability. Under the direction of Music Director Jonathan Yates, the Principal Orchestra performs demanding orchestral classical, romantic, and 20th century repertoire such as full length symphonies, symphonic poems, overtures, and concertos. In addition to performing three concerts each season, in Norwalk City Hall's acoustically vibrant Concert Hall, the Principal Orchestra regularly performs in the world's most renowned concert venues including Carnegie Hall and Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood.
The Principal Orchestra has also collaborated with local musicians and arts organizations, such as concert pianist Frederick Chiu and several performances with the Ballet School of Stamford. Each year, members of the orchestra are invited to audition for our Concerto Competition. The winner of the competition performs with the orchestra at our annual Winter Concert in February.

Members of the Principal and Concert Orchestras also have the opportunity to participate in a performance tour. These tours occur every other year. In 2008, NYS embarked on its first international tour to Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, performing to enthusiastic audiences in historically significant venues. NYS is planning for a tour to Italy in 2022. 

Principal Orchestra rehearses weekly on Sundays from 1:30 - 4:30.
Firebird Suite - Stravinsky
00:00 / 22:11
The Sorcerer's Apprentice - Dukas
00:00 / 11:38
The Concert Orchestra, is a full symphonic orchestra led by conductor Steven Huang

This orchestra provides experience in rehearsing and performing a wide range of shorter works from the Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary periods. Overtures, marches, suites, and isolated symphonic movements make up much of this group's repertoire.

Each year Concert Orchestra performs with members of InTempo in a community concert which celebrates diverse music cultures. Concert musicians also perform at Tanglewood and are eligible to participate in the European performance tours.

Concert Orchestra rehearses weekly on Sundays from 1:30 - 4:15.

Symphony No.8 "Unfinished" 1st mvmt. - Schubert
00:00 / 16:22






The Philharmonia Orchestral Strings is a mid-level string orchestra. This ensemble provides a transition from the Prelude Orchestra to the more difficult repertoire that is performed by the Concert Orchestra. The group performs selected repertoire for string orchestra, and joins with the Philharmonia Orchestral Winds ensemble at selected concerts during the season to give its members experience in playing literature for full orchestra. It is conducted by Jessica McNamara.

Phil Strings rehearses weekly on Sundays from 2:45 - 4:45.

Allegretto from Symphony No.7 - Beethoven
00:00 / 03:28
Swamp Thang - Meyer
00:00 / 04:06

Philharmonia Orchestral Winds, conducted by Barry Zhou, is designed to develop and enhance the musical skills of outstanding woodwind, brass, and percussion players. Young musicians receive the special attention needed to develop their technique, sound, musicality, and orchestral ensemble playing. The group performs orchestral arrangements for wind ensemble, and joins with the Philharmonia String Orchestra at selected concerts during the season to give its members experience in playing literature for full orchestra. 

Phil Winds rehearses weekly on Sundays from 2:45 - 4:45.

La Madre de los Gatos - Beck
00:00 / 03:45
All the Pretty Little Horses - McGinty
00:00 / 03:30




The Prelude Orchestra is an entry-level orchestra for string players, and is conducted by Aaron Lofaro.

The group studies and performs student works to develop skills in general string technique, music theory, and ensemble performance.

Prelude Orchestra rehearses weekly on Sundays from 12:30 - 2:30.

To Tame the Raging Rapids - Balmages
00:00 / 04:16
Riders in the Night (Life of a Cowboy) - Newbold
00:00 / 02:34





The NYS brass ensemble offers the opportunity for young brass players to work in a small group environment, hone their technical skills, and develop ensemble skills. Along with the development of the individual skills, members are given leadership roles.  Students are encouraged to lead and advise the group, giving them a professional experience and insight on how to operate ensembles. 


The brass ensemble rehearses and performs music of many genres, ranging from music written for brass ensembles to arrangements of pop music, classical music, jazz, holiday music and much more.  This encourages the young brass players to develop and showcase their skills.  


The instruments we can accommodate are trumpet, french horn, trombone, euphonium/baritone and tuba.  

The ensemble(s) instrumentation is easy to customize to fit the enrollment of any given season.

Ewald Brass Quintet #1, 1st mvmt.
00:00 / 05:45


Small ensemble work—in trios, quartets, and quintets—is one of the most rewarding musical activities students can undertake. Chamber musicians learn to be confident and independent, sensitive to how their part fits in with the other musicians around them and how to work together to form a cohesive whole.  In our virtual programming, each chamber group has a weekly coaching session from a member of our conducting staff.  They work together to learn their parts, coordinate with their fellow musicians, make musical decisions together and create a final performance.  Much of the creative process is in the student’s hands, with careful guidance and coaching from the conductors. This is a unique opportunity for NYS students to learn some of the finest music ever written, in close collaboration with NYS staff. All orchestral instrumentalists are welcome to apply for a small ensemble.


NYS offers graded music theory classes, helping students learn their solo and orchestra music with a greater depth, appreciation and speed by understanding how music works.  Classes focus on study of harmony, melody, rhythm, and form,  complemented by aural training through sight singing, pitch and interval identification, and dictation.  Classes are capped at 10 students per class, ensuring meaningful personal attention by our staff. Each class is tailored to the level of its students as determined by a pre-test, and they use online teaching portals and activities to keep the content interactive and engaging.


Have you wanted to be able to engage your children more about the music they’re playing, have a deeper appreciation when you go to concerts, or even just want to have an excuse to have a glass of wine while listening to some great music? Principal Orchestra conductor Jonathan Yates reveals the layers of meaning in famous orchestral works, take us into the mind of great composers, and help us understand what it means to be a conductor.  NYS music appreciation courses are fast-paced, interactive and entertaining, whatever your musical background.  Please join other members of the NYS community for some musical downtime on a weekday evening!  You can sign up for a package or for individual classes.

find out more!

Questions about our programs or events? Let us know. 

Thanks! Message sent.

bottom of page