Dr. Alfred & D. Suzi Osher School of Music

Welcome to the USM Youth Ensembles

Youth Ensembles at Merrill


Auditions for ensemble membership 2022-23

Auditions for membership will begin on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Reservations are required.

The reservation page link is open starting April 20, 2022.

Auditions are held at the Osher School of Music in Corthell Hall on the Gorham campus of the University of Southern Maine.

  • Tuesday, May 24: Flute, Oboe, and Bassoon
  • Wednesday, May 25: Clarinet, Saxophone, and Strings
  • Thursday, May 26: Brass, Percussion, Harp, Piano, and Strings
  • Friday, May 27: Strings

Audition requirements are found in the descriptions below. Click on "+" below to see the details for each ensemble. Please review the schedule and plan your audition repertoire with your music teachers.

Learn more about these groups and their directors below.

For more information contact:

Binney Brackett
USM Youth Ensembles Coordinator

Protocols for Auditions

Auditions for the USM Youth Ensembles will be in person with our faculty.

All University and State of Maine protocols will be followed.
Face masks are recommended but not required on USM campuses.

Please do not come to an audition if you are ill or have been exposed or required to quarantine.
Please contact us with your concerns or questions related to the audition process.

Membership fees

Pay your member dues at the Touchnet secure online site.

Your dues support the mission and operations of the USM Youth Ensembles.

Meet The Conductors

Hanna Flewelling, String Consort

William Kinne, Youth Wind Ensemble

Robert Lehmann, Youth Symphony

Ferdinand Liva, Junior Orchestra

Linda Vaillancourt, Junior Orchestra (Spring 2022)


Click on the + icon to expand each heading below 

Youth Ensemble Audition Information

Become a Member

The schedule for auditions is above.

For more information contact Binney Brackett by email brackett@maine.edu

Click the + icon next to each ensemble below for its audition requirements.

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 2022-2023 academic year are Wednesdays from 5:45 - 9:00 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.

PYSO Performing at Merrill Auditorium


PYSO at Merrill Auditorium

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 - 7:15 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. 

PYJO at Merrill Auditorium

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 7:15 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 Dr. William Kinne, Director of Bands, Osher School of Music at USM.

The Portland Youth Wind Ensemble is a select wind ensemble of outstanding young woodwind, brass, and percussion players from throughout Southern Maine. It is dedicated to enriching the lives of young people by refining both technique and artistic expression through a varied repertoire of music. By audition, selected members are invited to be members of PYSO, the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra. 

Weekly rehearsals during the school year are Wednesdays from 5:45 - 7:15 p.m in Corthell Hall on the USM Gorham campus.

Audition requirements: Auditions are open to all woodwind, brass, and percussion instrumentalists entering grades 8 through 12. Students should perform two contrasting works of their choice that demonstrate slow, lyrical playing and faster, more technical playing. Please consult with your private instructor or music teacher if you have questions about what is appropriate for an audition. Auditions are approximately 8 minutes in length.


Click for a video of PYWE performing at Merrill Auditorium in April 2021


Portland Youth Wind Ensemble at Merrill Auditorium

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: brackett@maine.edu