Our Program

Founded in 1964, the South Carolina Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (SCPYO) offers an exceptional orchestral playing experience for young musicians throughout the state of South Carolina.
Each year more than 200 students participate in our 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.

Our Mission


To provide students with a high-quality music education that instills an emotional connection with and lifelong passion for music, fosters a diverse community of musicians, and offers outstanding symphonic performance opportunities for students to share their musical gifts with the community.

Our Vision


Inspiring, challenging, connecting and celebrating diverse performers, audiences and communities through live music.

Our Values


Instill life-long values of responsibility, accountability, teamwork, problem solving, creativity and cultural appreciation in students from all economic and social backgrounds.

Develop the next generation of professionals and community leaders through achieving excellence in the study and performance of symphonic music.

Support music education in South Carolina through collaboration with local music educators, school music programs and arts organizations.

Strengthen the foundation of our community by enriching the quality of life and adding to the vibrancy of our diverse culture.

Our Staff

Get to know our conductors!

Meet Our Staff >

Becoming a Member

Membership in the SCPYO is open to students throughout the state ages eight through high school, on an auditioned basis.

To become a member you must:

  • Have at least some playing experience
  • Complete an audition each season
  • Pay all fees and membership dues*

If accepted, the SCPYO is a full-year commitment (September-April). Students who drop mid-cycle without notifying or without legitimate cause may not be eligible to rejoin.


When does the SCPYO rehearse?

The SCPYO rehearses on Sundays afternoons at the University of South Carolina School of Music.

How long are rehearsals?


Prelude, Concert and Symphonic orchestra rehearsals are 90 minutes.

Youth Philharmonic rehearsals are 2 hours.

How long is the SCPYO season?

The SCPYO season runs from mid-September to late April.

How many concerts are there in a SCPYO season?


The SCPYO holds 3 concerts per year for all of our ensembles. Performances dates can be found here.

Am I eligible to participate?


Membership is open to all musicians ages 8 through high school with at least some playing experience on an auditioned basis.

Is participation in my school's band or orchestra program required?


The SCPYO recognizes the importance of school music programs in their communities. We highly recommend and strongly encourage our members to be active participants in those programs.

The SCPYO and the schools share a common goal of educating student musicians. Exceptions may be made for students who encounter class-scheduling conflicts between instrumental music courses and courses required for graduation from high school, if such conflicts would postpone the student’s timely graduation from high school.

How much does it cost to participate?


Tuition rates are a one-time payment for the whole year. Need-based tuition assistance is available by application for those auditioning. 

Ensemble Tuition
Prelude Orchestra $300
Concert Orchestra $300
Symphonic Orchestra $375
Youth Philharmonic $375

* Tuition and fees are non-refundable.

Does the SCPYO offer tuition assistance?


Yes! We never want participation fees to come between a student and their ability to participate.

The South Carolina Philharmonic is committed to making our education programs accessible to all students and families. 

Through tuition assistance we offer:

  • Waiver of audition fees
  • Payment plans
  • Reduced or free tuition

Learn More about Tuition Assistance

When are auditions held?


Auditions are held every year in May for new and returning students.

Materials for the upcoming season will be posted in March. Audition registration will open on March 1st, 2024.