South Carolina Philharmonic

Youth Orchestras

Founded in 1964, the S.C. Philharmonic Youth Orchestras (SCPYO) offer exceptional orchestral playing experience for young people throughout the Midlands. Each year more than 200 students participate in four orchestras, comprised of the very best student musicians. Membership in the SCPYO program is open to students throughout the state, ages 8 through high school, on an auditioned basis.

Alumni in the S.C. Philharmonic

The S.C. Phil is especially proud of the following professional players who are alumni of the Youth Orchestras:

  • Mary Lee Taylor Kinosian, Concertmaster
  • Ashley Horvat, Associate Concertmaster
  • Amy Herin, Assistant Concertmaster
  • Susan Cramer, violin
  • Audrey Wade Harris, viola
  • Ryan Knott, violin
  • Sarah Land, violin
  • Mary Lou Schweickert, trombone
  • Cyndi Williams, horn

See more images in our photo gallery!

2019/2020 Concerts

All concerts are held at the Koger Center for the Arts, unless otherwise noted.

  • Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, 4:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, 4:00 p.m. (Lexington High School Performing Arts Center)
  • Sunday, April 26, 2020, 4:00 p.m.

To purchase tickets:

  • NEW for the 2019/2020 Youth Orchestras season – subscriptions! 
    Adult season subscriptions will be $30 and Student/Child season subscriptions will be $15. 
  • General admission tickets for individual concerts are $15 for adults and $5 for students.
  • Concert tickets for the upcoming season can be purchased online here.

  • All tickets purchased online will be held at the ticket kiosk under the name of purchaser; please bring proof of ID.
  • Individual concert tickets may be purchased at the ticket kiosk in the Koger Center lobby one hour before start time.

Four Ensembles

The SCPYO offers four competitive ensembles for players of different abilities:

Prelude Orchestra

Conducted by Carson Coomes, the Prelude Orchestra is an advanced beginner string ensemble comprised of string players with at least one year of playing experience. This group is ideal for beginner students wanting an additional challenge or for Suzuki/private lesson students looking for a first-time orchestra experience. 

Concert Orchestra

Concert Orchestra is an advanced string ensemble comprised of intermediate level string players and conducted by Meredith Tashkandi.  Students perform originally-composed string orchestra literature in addition to intermediate-level arrangements. 

Symphonic Orchestra                                                      

Under the direction of Nathan Tucker, the Symphonic Orchestra is the SCPYO’s intermediate full orchestra. It performs unabridged pieces from the standard orchestral repertoire, as well as some advanced level arrangements.

Youth Philharmonic                                                                    

The SCPYO’s most advanced full orchestra, the Youth Philharmonic is conducted by Neil Casey. It performs professional-level repertoire and frequently performs side-by-side with the S.C. Phil. 

Joining the Youth Orchestras

Why join?

  • All SCPYO ensembles are conducted by leading music educators.
  • Concerts are presented three times a year at the Koger Center for the Arts.
  • Serious music students are given the opportunity to play in an orchestra with the finest young players in South Carolina.

Membership requirements:

  • Have at least some playing experience
  • Participation in your school music program if one is available
  • One-time payment of membership dues

Membership dues:

  • Membership dues for the 2019/2020 season is $220 first participating member of each family
  • Additional participants from the same family will each pay a fee of $170
  • To make a payment for the 2019/2020 season, click here.
Please call 803.771.7937 or email for more information.

2019/2020 Auditions

Below, please find and read the audition information sheet, a student information sheet that needs to be filled out completely and turned in at your audition, and music excerpts for you to prepare for your audition. Then, click the link at the bottom to schedule your audition time. Please arrive at least 15 - 30 minutes prior to your scheduled audition time. There is a non-refundable $10.00 audition fee, payable in advance of the audition. To submit your audition fee, click here.




Prepare all excerpts for your instrument (due to timing, not all excerpts may be requested during the audition) + solo piece of your choice. Additional requirements on "Audition Information" sheet above.
In addition to a solo piece of your choice. Additional requirements on "Audition Information" sheet above.
In addition to a solo piece of your choice. Additional requirements on "Audition Information" sheet above.
Students auditioning for the Prelude Orchestra are to 
prepare a solo piece of choice that will showcase your technique, musicality, and overall playing ability.  Please bring an extra copy to the audition for the judges
. Additional requirements on "Audition Information" sheet above.


To submit your $10 audition fee, click here.

Auditions for the 2019/2020 season will be held at the USC School of Music

Sunday, September 8, 2019
8:30 AM - 8:30 PM

The following instruments are highly encouraged to audition: 
Violin, viola, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, and percussion