I'm interested in joining a local youth orchestra in the future. However, a quick google search for 'Illinois youth orchestras' shows around a dozen choices. How do I know which orchestra is the right fit for me and will be a good use of my time? Also, if anyone is familiar with Illinois youth orchestras, can someone recommend a good one that I will benefit greatly from joining? Some of my top choices are the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, can anyone tell me about their experiences with either orchestra?
What is your level of playing?
Where do you live and what is your level? Elgin is an excellent organization serving multiple levels. They have a ton of info on their website. I have had several students participate with them and the concerts have always been fantastic. Schaumburg's I haven't visited in a while; several years ago the mid-level strings were good but dragged down by poor wind and brass players; several students have enjoyed it though. I believe there is one in Naperville but have no experience with it.
The solo pieces I am currently working on are Mozart Concerto No. 5 and Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso. I have been playing violin for 8 years
I live in the suburbs and I know that auditions for most are in May, I meant for next year :)
"May but who knows" refers to: given distancing requirements and restrictions on indoor gatherings, it's hard to imagine orchestras (in certain areas) functioning normally any time soon. One of my local organizations had online auditions in May/June as scheduled, and another postponed to - maybe Sept? But if they can't have physical orchestra, would they bother with auditions only to continue holding "rehearsals" remotely? Even next year, be prepared for the possibility of something unusual". As to the actual question, your local private teacher, if you have one, might be familiar with the local options.
Hi - at your level I would only recommend two ensembles: CYSO and Midwest Young Artists. Most of the other ensembles will not be high enough in level to meet your needs (assuming you play the listed pieces well).
@Mengwei Shen: I totally agree, and I do have a private teacher- she was the one who recommended the two groups (CYSO and EYSO) I mentioned.
Sure. Accelerando is kind of a catch-up orchestra for string players who are not at a high school playing level yet and are in 10-12 grade. Concert Orchestra (which has a fabulous conductor!) is probably on average Mozart to Bruch level. Philharmonic this year was just a bit higher than Concert for strings -- mostly Bruch level to standard concerto level (Lalo, Saint Saens, Wieniawski, etc.). Symphony is standard concerto level and up. If I remember correctly, my son got into Philharmonic playing Vitali Chaconne and maybe Mozart 5, and then into Symphony playing Intro and Rondo Capriccioso. (He skipped Concert Orchestra, which is not typical, and wasn't eligible for Accelerando since he was not old enough.)
AFAIK, at your level, you're likely looking at either the Philharmonic or the Symphony Orchestra, depending on how well your Mozart and I&RC are being played. I suspect Mozart 5 is insufficient to get into the Symphony unless it's played immaculately. I&RC would, I assume, be sufficient, as long as it's well played at full tempo.
@Susan Agrawal: Thank you so much, this helped a ton. From what I've seen with others, I agree that there must be a lot of overlap, as I know someone who made Accelerando with Bruch, another person who made Concert with Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and someone else who made Philharmonic with Kabalevsky (they were all sophomores). Although I am not 100% sure yet, I'm strongly considering auditioning for the 2021-22 season, and hope I can make at least Concert Orchestra (which sounds pretty amazing on YouTube).
@Lydia, the way they do All-State now is a bit different and the level there is for the most part significantly lower than the level of Symphony. In fact, most kids in Symphony don't even do All-State because it is nowhere near as good as CYSO. These days, they have to have an equal number of kids from each region, so that means that a good chunk of the kids are pretty low level, with the exception of the one region that is the wealthy suburbs.
@Susan Agrawal: Gotcha, you're saying that the orchestral excerpt is the most important factor in placement, no matter how good the solo pieces were. That sounds fair.
I wouldn't say it is the most important factor, but it allows them to compare the kids 1:1 since they are all playing the same thing. It can be very revealing in either a good way or bad way. :)
Susan, Region 6 (the Chicago 'burbs) had a FAR better regional orchestra than the All-State orchestra when I was a kid, but there was also some degree of proportionate representation by region population. And CYSO back then pulled kids from multiple regions (we had students who commuted to rehearsals from as far as Champaign-Urbana). The first five stands of each string section at All-State were usually identical to the CYSO players, in the same seating order. ;-)