Youth Orchestras & Wind Ensemble

The mission of the Des Moines Symphony Youth Orchestras is to provide young musicians of Central Iowa an opportunity to expand their musical and social perspectives while performing challenging, yet age-appropriate repertoire.


Participation in the Youth Orchestras and Wind Ensemble builds upon the musical instruction students receive through their private lessons and school music programs. Membership is granted by auditions held in August. Musicians will audition for Des Moines Youth Orchestras and Wind Ensemble Conductors, who will determine appropriate ensemble placement. Mid-year auditions are offered in January for musicians participating in fall sports. Musicians must be enrolled as active participants in their school music program to be eligible for participation in the Des Moines Symphony Youth Orchestras and Wind Ensemble.  These five ensembles provide a progressive large ensemble experience for young musicians in grades K-12. Ensemble participation builds upon a young musician’s sense of responsibility and self-motivation and strengthens listening skills and practice habit. As a member of the Des Moines Symphony Youth Orchestras and/or Wind Ensemble, students learn to be both stronger leaders and reliable members of a collective group. Each of the Des Moines Symphony Youth Orchestras and Wind Ensemble rehearse on a weekly basis and present two to four concerts per season.

Preludio Strings
Matt Meyer, Conductor
Beginning String Orchestra
Grades 1-4
Suzuki book 1 or completion of first year of school orchestra

Youth Sinfonia
Matt Meyer, Conductor
Primary String Orchestra
Grades 4-6

Youth Philharmonic
Michele Senger, Conductor
Intermediate String Orchestra
Grades 7-9

Youth Symphony
Joseph Giunta, Conductor
Full Symphony Orchestra
Grades 10-12

Youth Wind Ensemble
Robert Meunier, Conductor
Elite Wind Ensemble for Brass, Woodwinds and Percussion
Grades 9-12

2019-2020 General Rehearsal Schedule

Preludio Strings – Thursdays, 4:45-5:30pm
Youth Sinfonia – Tuesdays, 4:45-6:00pm
Youth Philharmonic – Tuesdays, 4:30-6:00pm
Youth Symphony – Mondays, 4:30-6:00pm
Youth Wind Ensemble – Mondays, 7:00-8:30pm
A detailed season schedule will be provided at fall auditions.

2019-2020 Youth Wind Ensemble Audition Dates and Locations

Wed Oct 2 and Thu Oct 3 4:30-6 p.m.
The Temple for Performing Arts
1011 Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50309

View Available Youth Wind Ensemble Audition Dates and Times

All Des Moines Symphony Youth Orchestras and Youth Wind Ensemble current and prospective musicians must audition each year.  For these auditions, musicians are asked to have a short musical selection prepared that demonstrates their current ability level.  Audition pieces do not need to be memorized or performed with accompaniment.  Auditioning musicians will be placed in the ensemble that is most appropriate to their current ability level:

These auditions generally last about (2-3) minutes and are scheduled by reservation.  Auditioning musicians will not be asked for scales or sight-reading. Auditioning percussionists will need to audition on snare drum, timpani or xylophone.

To schedule an audition, please e-mail  Please include your student musician’s name, instrument, 2019-2020 grade level and your preferred audition day/time in your e-mail to us.  

2019-2020 Tuition Rates.  Listed tuition rates cover full season.

Preludio Strings = $350 (Sep-Apr)
Youth Sinfonia & Youth Philharmonic = $450 (Sep-Apr)
Youth Symphony = $500 (Sep-Apr)
Youth Wind Ensemble = $450 (Nov-Apr)

Scholarships available for students who qualify. 

Youth Symphony

Maestro Joseph Giunta, conductor

The DMSYO Youth Symphony provides a unique orchestral experience for advanced high-school musicians in Central Iowa. Under the guidance of Maestro Joseph Giunta, Music Director and Conductor of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, the Youth Symphony provides the only full orchestral experience for pre-professional musicians in the Des Moines area.

Participation in this group promotes a top-notch musical experience through the study and performance of standard orchestral repertoire and contemporary works. The Youth Symphony performs at least two concerts during their season.

Membership is open to dedicated high school musicians playing standard orchestral instruments.

Grades: 10-12
Tuition: $450 for the 2018-2019 season
Recommended string ability levels:

  • Suzuki books 7+
  • Shifting past 5th position for all violins and violas
  • Thumb position knowledge and harmonics for cello and bass
  • Ability to play in all keys

Rehearsals are held at The Temple for Performing Arts.

Please contact Joshua Barlage, Academy Managing Director, at 515.280.3332 or email for more information about Youth Symphony.

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