2020-2021 Season Auditions: AUDITIONS HAVE MOVED ONLINE!
Register and upload by September 19.

UPDATED 6.15.20

Due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, scheduled live auditions will not take place. Instead, YSKC will utilize online video auditions for the 2020-2021 season. The deadline for videos to be submitted is 12:00 PM (CST) Saturday, September 19, 2020.

All students auditioning must register and pay for their audition BEFORE submitting their audition video. Students who have already registered and paid for their audition do not need to register or pay again. (Please note that there are no percussion audition fees. However, students must first register to audition).

Audition requirements and excerpts remain the same.  Please see below for your instrument’s requirements and excerpts.

*Percussion students only – If you do not have access to all instruments required please contact Mr. Walker, PercussionKC Conductor, for alternate audition requirements.  You can email him at cwalker@youthsymphonykc.org

New Audition Steps and Timeline:


Register to audition (students who have already registered before June 15th do not need to repeat this step)

Strings, Woodwinds, Brass and Harp Audition Registration

Percussion Audition Registration


Record your audition video.  All requirements and instructions for performing and recording your video audition can be found on the links provided below.


Now it’s time to upload your video.  Please use the links below to submit your completed video.

Strings, Woodwinds, Brass and Harp Video Submission Link

Percussion Video Submission Link


Audition results and ensemble placements will be posted on youthsymphonykc.org by September 26.  Rehearsals are scheduled to begin the weekend of October 4. 

Audition Requirements/Excerpts

Each instrument has a packet of audition materials available for download.  You will download your respective instrument’s audition packet for specific audition requirements. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view each packet.

*New for 2020, students must select one instrument to audition

Audition Excerpt videos recorded by the Kansas City Symphony!

Viola Audition Excerpt videos recorded by Youth Symphony Alum, Alyssa Bell!















2020/2021 Ensembles

Symphony Orchestra
Advanced Full Orchestra
Conducted by Steven D. Davis
Grades 10-12

Academy Orchestra
Advanced Full Orchestra
Conducted by Kirt Mosier
Grades 8-12

Philharmonic Orchestra
Intermediate Full Orchestra
Conducted by Michelle Davis
Grades 7-11

Debut Orchestra
Preparatory Full Orchestra
Conducted by Sheri Cain and Amanda Kremer
Grades 6-9

Overture Strings
Preparatory Ensembles
Conducted by Marie Coleman and Page Mitchum
Grades 5-8

Advanced Percussion Ensemble
Conducted by Clif Walker
Grades 7-12

Each instrument has a packet of audition materials available for download.  You will download your respective instrument’s audition packet for specific audition requirements. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view each packet.

Program FAQ (click for information)

Below are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions we receive regarding the Youth Symphony program and the audition process.

For more info, email auditions@youthsymphonykc.org

What is a full orchestra?

A full orchestra is a musical ensemble that includes instruments from all four common instrument familes: string, woodwind, brass and percussion.


Students selected for PERCUSSIONKC, an advanced ensemble, will rehearse and perform in both percussion ensemble and symphonic orchestra settings.

When and where are rehearsals?

Rehearsals take place at various locations throughout the area including area schools, universities and other facilities on Sunday afternoons from mid-August – May, except for certain holidays. All dates, times, and locations are subject to change.

Symphony Orchestra: Sundays, 12:30-3:00 p.m., The Loretto, 1111 West 39th Street, Kansas City, Mo

Academy Orchestra: Sundays, 3:30-5:30 p.m., The Loretto, 1111 West 39th Street, Kansas City, Mo

Philharmonic Orchestra: Sundays, 1-3 p.m., The Loretto, 1111 West 39th Street, Kansas City, Mo

Debut Orchestra: Sundays, 3:30-5 p.m., The Loretto, 1111 West 39th Street, Kansas City, Mo

Overture Strings: Sundays, 12:30-2 p.m., The Loretto, 1111 West 39th Street, Kansas City, Mo

PERCUSSIONKC: Sundays, 2-4 p.m., Liberty High School, 200 Blue Jay Drive, Liberty, Mo

Where are concerts held?

Concerts are held at the area’s most prestigious professional venues including Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Folly Theater and Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College.  Additional venues include area high schools and community centers.

What is the financial commitment?

Program fees range from $396 to $846 annually, depending on the ensemble in which your child participates. Payment may be made in one sum or installments. Our goal is to reduce barriers to participation – financial assistance is available for families with qualified need. Across the span of the year, ensemble fees equate to less than $10.00 per hour of instruction.  See below about Financial Aid.

See complete information on our Tuition and Fees page.

Are there other commitments?

Youth Symphony thrives due to its parent volunteer program. Each family that participates in the program agrees to put forth 6 credits of volunteer time. Families have the option of completing these 6 volunteer hours or paying a fee of $150.

The only other fee is the non-refundable audition fee of $15, payable upon registration.  After the initial deadline of May 1, the non-refundable audition fee increases to $25. See complete information on our Tuition and Fees page.

Can my child participate in Youth Symphony but not
participate in his or her school band or orchestra program?

No. Youth Symphony of Kansas City is not designed to replace in-school music education programs. In fact, each student selected for Youth Symphony program signs an agreement committing to participate in his or her school music program, when one is available, on the respective instrument he or she plays in the program. This requirement is strictly enforced.

Is financial aid available?

Yes! Youth Symphony of Kansas City is committed to assisting students whose families demonstrate qualified financial need. Between $20,000 – 25,000 is provided annually for tuition assistance. Once the audition process is complete, a Financial Aid application form will be made available to all students offered a position in one of our orchestras. All applications are held in the strictest of confidence. No merit-based scholarships are available at this time.

Does my child need to have a private instructor to participate?

No. Private study is not required in order to participate, but it is strongly encouraged. Statistically, students who study privately audition more successfully.

Auditions FAQ (click for information)

Who is eligible to audition?

Young musicians residing within the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area and surrounding region who are beginning 5th grade through 12th grade. College students are not eligible.

My child has never auditioned. Isn’t it difficult to get accepted?

All students – regardless of previous program participation – are required to audition each year. This enables us to place all students based on ability at the level of orchestra that is right for them. Because we offer a comprehensive program at varying ability levels, most musicians participating in the program enjoy an enhanced orchestral experience.

How long is each audition?

Each audition is approximately seven minutes in length.

What will my child be asked to perform during the audition?

Each instrument has a set of audition materials. See above for audition requirements and excerpts.

How do you determine which ensemble is right for my child?

Two independent adjudicators listen to every audition and recommend placement in an ensemble. Students will be placed based on their intonation, interpretation, tone, rhythm, technique and preparedness as demonstrated in the audition. Grade level and instrumentation needs of each ensemble may also be considered. Previous participation in Youth Symphony of Kansas City does not guarantee ensemble placement. All students – regardless of previous program participation – are required to audition each year. All ensemble placements are final. Scoring, judge comments and recommendations are not discussed with students, parents, private teachers and/or music teachers.