Symphony Program

Three orchestras make up the Symphony Orchestra Program. These orchestras are for woodwind, brass, percussion and string students. The following are brief descriptions of each orchestra:

Youth Symphony I (YSI) students rehearse every Sunday at the UH Music Department from August through May, averaging 130 hours of rehearsal time each season. Rehearsals include sectionals, all facilitated personally by the conductor, and full-orchestra rehearsals. Students, on average perform eight concerts per season. The orchestra is under the direction of Maestro Henry Miyamura who has been teaching music for more than 40 years. This orchestra performs with professional guest artists from a range of art forms, including vocalists, Hawaiian music groups, ballet dancers, taiko drummers and classical musicians. By the time students reach YSI, their technical skills are quite high. The focus shifts to understanding the depth and nuances of music like color, tonal quality and interpretation. Students work with professional-level music and are taught to play from their hearts as well as their heads. An average of 25 pieces are worked on during the season. All students would be considered advanced level on national and state standards. This orchestra is considered one of the finest Youth Symphonies in the country.

Youth Symphony II (YSII) meets every Sunday at Kaimuki Middle School from late August through May, averaging 110 hours of rehearsal time. Rehearsals include sectionals with expert coaches and full-orchestra rehearsals. During sectionals, students perform for coaches who can give students more individualized attention and help musicians improve their skills to make a greater contribution to the group ensemble. During the season, they will perform a total of seven concerts. Students are taught to refine their orchestral music skills and perform 10-14 advanced-level works. YSII students average three to five years of playing experience and must audition for their seat. This orchestra is under the direction of Susan Ochi-Onishi and Elton Masaki.

Concert Orchestra (CO) is an entry-level orchestra under the Hannah Watanabe and Wayne Fanning.  Members of CO have an average of two to four years of playing experience and must audition for their seat. Students rehearse every Sunday at Niu Valley Middle School from late August through April, averaging 96 hours of rehearsal throughout the season. Weekly rehearsals include winds, percussion and string sectionals and full-orchestra rehearsals. Two workshops are offered with intense, half-day sessions for each instrument family. Within the 9-month program, students will perform in six professionally-produced concerts, including two Listen & Learn educational concerts for 1,200 school-aged children and teachers. For many students, CO is their first experience playing with a full orchestra. The conductor must transform a large range of musical experiences into a cohesive orchestra where students learn to play with new sounds, and read larger scores of music. On average, 8-10 intermediate-level pieces are worked on during a season.

Symphony Orchestra Rehearsal Times & Locations

Symphony Orchestra Registration Information