Wellington Youth Orchestra was established by Peter Zwartz and others in 1959 to provide a symphonic orchestral experience for young people in the Wellington region. By 1993, a second orchestra was needed, and Wellington Youth Sinfonietta was formed. After more than fifty years, our former players can be found throughout New Zealand and around the world, playing in professional orchestras, conducting, teaching, and composing.
WYO announces guest conductors for 2017
Two of New Zealand’s most exciting musicians have been named as WYO’s guest conductors for 2017. NZSO cellist Andrew Joyce and NZSO trumpeter Mark Carter have been named as WYO guest conductors for 2017. Mark Carter will conduct Project 1; Andrew Joyce will conduct Project 2.
Here’s the WYO 2017 Provisional Schedule.
About Wellington Youth Orchestra
Wellington Youth Orchestra caters for players under 25 years of age in the greater Wellington region who have reached Grade VIII. Many WYO players are concurrently students of music performance at New Zealand School of Music, while others are studying at secondary school, and some are university graduates.
Entry is by annual audition. Joint auditions for both WYO and Wellington Youth Sinfonietta, will be held on Saturday 3 and Saturday 10 December 2016. There will be an extra audition on Saturday 11 March 2017 for out-of-town university students and late applicants.
You can apply by completing our online Audition Application Form.
WYO rehearses on Monday evenings during term time (7-9.30 pm) in the Adam Concert Room at the New Zealand School of Music on the Victoria University campus. Our use of the ACR is made possible by the generous support of the New Zealand School of Music. WYO gives three public concerts each year.
WYO works closely with Wellington Youth Sinfonietta, sharing some players. In 2016, WYO partnered with the NZSM orchestra for Project 2, culminating in a joint concert in the Michael Fowler Centre in early August.
For many of our players, such as Ben Morrison, Blythe Press, Malavika Gopal, Greg Pharo, Alice Gott, and Nicholas Hancox, WYO has been the stepping stone to further instrumental study overseas and a successful professional career in music. Several WYO alumni are currently playing with the NZSO, including Steve Taylor, Anna van der Zee, Malavika Gopal, and Blythe Press.
The winner of the annual concerto competition performs as a soloist with the orchestra for the third concert of the year. In 2016, the winner was violinist Shweta Iyer. We also encourage student composers, whose work may be premièred by one of the orchestras.
As well as percussion instruments and a double bass, the orchestra owns some wind and brass instruments (an oboe, cor anglais, bass clarinet, several bassoons, and a French horn), which are available for players to use during their time with the orchestra. If you are interested in using one of our instruments, please contact the Orchestra Manager.
In addition to weekly rehearsals, we have several sectional rehearsals with NZSO players during the course of the year, made possible through the NZSO’s Education programme.
Players pay an annual subscription of $450 (discounted to $400 if paid by the 31 March). University students pay a discounted rate of $200. $200 is paid as an audition deposit, and is fully refundable if the auditioner is not offered a place in the orchestra. The audition deposit must be paid before the audition extracts can be sent. Every year we endeavour to source grant funding so we can offer fees scholarships in cases of genuine hardship. Applications for scholarships are assessed following a successful audition. For more information, contact the Orchestra Manager.
About Wellington Youth Sinfonietta
Wellington Youth Sinfonietta was established in 1993 as a training orchestra for Wellington Youth Orchestra. It provides orchestral training for players from Grade VI level upwards working with a professional conductor. WYS provides a valuable foundation in orchestral playing for young musicians in the greater Wellington area, offering opportunities for solo performance for its senior players, and performance opportunities for student composers. We also have a long tradition of training young conductors. Previous Assistant Conductors include Owen Clark, Ewen Clarke, Vincent Hardaker, and Simon Brew.
Michael Vinten has been the Music Director of WYS since its foundation over twenty years ago.
Entry is by annual audition. Auditions for both WYO and Wellington Youth Sinfonietta are held in December each year, with an extra audition date in mid-February for WYS players not available in December. The audition dates for 2017 are Saturday 3 and Saturday 10 December, with a pick-up audition to be scheduled in February if required.
You can apply by completing our online Audition Application Form.
Rehearsals are held each Saturday morning during term time in the Adam Concert Room at NZ School of Music, Victoria University, from 9.30 am – 12 noon. Players can access the provisional rehearsal and concert schedule for 2017 here: WYS Rehearsal Schedule 2017.
WYS works closely with WYO, as well as the NZSM Young Musicians Programme. The first concert of the year is usually a joint one with WYO.
As well as percussion instruments and a double bass, the orchestra owns some wind and brass instruments (an oboe, cor anglais, bass clarinet, several bassoons, and a French horn), which are available for players to use during their time with the orchestra. If you are interested, please contact the relevant Orchestra Manager.
Sectional tutorials by NZSO players are given during the year as part of concert preparation. WYS gives several public concerts a year, and also plays at Artsplash in the Michael Fowler Centre.
We are proud of our alumni. Senior players usually move on from WYS to Wellington Youth Orchestra and to university study in music performance. Many of our players have gone on to further instrumental study overseas and a successful professional career in music. One of our foundation players, Steve Taylor (double bass) plays in the NZSO. Other former players, such as Blythe Press, Greg Pharo, Alice Gott, and Alexis French have studied (or are studying) in Europe, North America, and Australia. Several of our student composers (including Natalie Hunt, Karlo Margetic, Isaac Stone, and Tabea Squire) have won national awards for composition. Gemma New is making a name for herself in North America as conductor of the Hamilton Symphony Orchestra in Canada, whilst Nicholas Hancox is now a professional conductor in Germany. Our former assistant conductor Simon Brew is Director of Music for the Royal NZ Air Force.
Every year or two WYS joins with Kapiti Youth Orchestra and Hawkes Bay Youth Orchestra for a weekend of rehearsals, tutorials, and fun, culminating in a huge joint concert. This is an opportunity for players to perform a large symphonic work and make new friends. In 2017, we will have a joint workshop weekend with Kapiti, Hawkes Bay, and Manawatu Youth Orchestras. See the Gallery section for images from previous Joint Orchestra Weekends.
Players pay an annual subscription ($450 per annum in 2016, discounted to $400 if the balance is paid by 31 March). $200 of this is paid as an audition deposit, and the balance is due at the start of Term 1. Every year we endeavour to source grant funding so we can offer partial and full discounts in cases of genuine hardship. Applications for discounts are assessed following a successful audition. For more information, contact the Orchestra Manager.