School of Music

Welcome to the USM Youth Ensembles

Youth Ensembles at Merrill


Audition for 2021-2022 season of the USM Youth Ensembles


Please email for information about membership opportunities beginning January 1, 2022.

Reservations are required. The audition reservation page is currently closed. 

Learn more about these groups and review audition requirements for each group below.

FMI contact 

Binney Brackett
USM Youth Ensembles Coordinator

Membership fees

Membership cost for the 2021-2022 season will be $300.00 per student.

The initial payment of $150 will be due after the student is assigned to an ensemble for Fall 2021.

Payments should be made online here.

Protocols for Auditions

Auditions for the USM Youth Ensembles will be live, face to face with a small panel of judges.
All University and State of Maine protocols will be followed.
Face masks are required at all times on USM campuses.
Our audition spaces are HVAC compliant and room capacity limits will be enforced.
Accepted physical distancing and clear barriers will be utilized during all auditions.
Instrument bell covers are required during warm-up and audition performance.
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.

Meet The Conductors

Hanna Flewelling

Robert Lehmann

Ferdinand Liva

William Kinne


Youth Ensemble Audition Information

Become a Member

Schedule for auditions is above.

FMI contact Binney Brackett by email

See below for 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 2021-2022 academic year are Wednesdays from 5:45 - 8:30 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 William Kinne

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 5:45 - 7:15 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.

PYWE at Merrill Auditorium April 2021

PYWE 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: