School of Music

Welcome to the USM Youth Ensembles

Youth Orchestra


Become a Member

Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, all Youth Ensemble auditions for the 2020-2021 school year will take place digitally via recorded video. 

Please fill out the WEBFORM HERE to submit and receive information regarding youth ensemble auditions.


Meet The Conductors

Hanna Flewelling

Robert Lehmann

Ferdinand Liva

Jackie Townsend


See below for audition requirements.

Youth Ensemble Audition Information

Video submissions are due no later than June 19th, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

conducted by Robert Lehmann

The Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO) is made up of over 70 musicians ranging in age from 13 to 18. Established in 1942, the PYSO has grown into a pre-professional program of high caliber which challenges its members with a diverse repertory of choice symphonic literature. 

Weekly rehearsals during the academic year are Wednesdays from 5:45 - 7:15 p.m.

Audition requirements: Candidates should have advanced technical command of their instruments and display musical maturity. [Wind, Brass, and Percussion players please follow instructions listed under 'Portland Youth Wind Ensemble Audition Requirements] Comfort in upper positions, a broad range of bow strokes, advanced control of intonation, as well as  tone quality and vibrato are required. All players should have previous ensemble experience. Confidence in sight-reading and familiarity with all major and minor three-octave scales is expected [basses: two-octaves]. The solo selection(s) should demonstrate advanced technical command and lyrical expression.


conducted by Dino Liva (Ferdinand Liva)

The Portland Youth Junior Orchestra (PYJO) is an intermediate-level string orchestra, which has as its primary goal to train players to move into the PYSO. It stresses the building of solid fundamental orchestral skills, improvement in sight-readiing ability, and presents members with challenging and varied repertory.

Weekly rehearsals during the academic year are Wednesdays from 5:45 - 7 p.m.

Audition requirements: Candidates must play one or two pieces that best demonstrate their playing in slow/lyrical as well as fast/technical music. In addition you must prepare one major and one minor three-octave scale, through three sharps and flats [basses one or two octave scales] Candidates should be able to demonstrate; a spiccato bow stroke, familiarity through five (5) positions, as well as a well-developed vibrato and tone. Cellos should have an acquaintance with tenor clef. A moderate sight-reading proficiency is expected. 

conducted by Hanna Flewelling

The Portland Young People’s String Consort gives less advanced string players training for the PYJO, a chance to become familiar with playing in an ensemble situation, following a conductor, and gaining formal concert experience. Established in 1979, the PYPSC offers adjunct support to string programs in Maine schools

Weekly rehearsals during the academic year are Wednesdays from 5:45 to 7 p.m.

Audition requirements: Candidates must have the ability to read music, use basic bow strokes (legato, staccato, detaché) and have started shifting and vibrato. Candidates should prepare one or two contrasting pieces of their choice and a two-octave major or minor scale.

conducted by Jackie Townsend

The Portland Youth Wind Ensemble began out of a need in the greater Portland area for a select wind ensemble for talented young wind players. It is dedicated to refining concert techniques through a sophisticated repertoire of wind and band literature. The principal chair musicians are also members of PYSO. 

Weekly rehearsals during the academic year are Wednesdays from 7:30 - 9 p.m.

Audition requirements: All candidates should perform a piece(s) of their choice that best demonstrates their technical and musical skills in both fast/technical and slow/lyrical music. Auditions are approximately 8 minutes in length and will consist of a prepared piece(s) of the applicant’s choice. You may perform two different works or movements, or two portions of one work. The prepared piece(s) should be from your instrument’s standard repertoire and demonstrate slow, lyrical playing and faster, more technical playing. The piece(s) should demonstrate command of the elements listed under “requirements.” Please consult with your private instructor if you have questions about what is considered standard repertory.

Those interested in youth music programs will also be interested in USM's Summer Youth Music and Theatre Camps.


Email Binney Brackett for more information: