Philharmonia Orchestra

Philharmonia Orchestra

The Intermediate Step

The intermediate step in the Music Education program’s continuum of performing ensembles, the Philharmonia Orchestra engages string, wind, brass, and percussion students in performing as a full orchestra under the baton of Marisa McLeod. To provide targeted training and experience with other repertoire, Philharmonia students also rehearse as a chamber strings group with Marisa McLeod and a symphonic wind band with Karen Dutton. Students in the Philharmonia Orchestra have two or more years of study on a string, wind, brass, or percussion instrument.

Santa Barbara Youth Symphony Community Concert  4/29/17 PageYouth Center
Santa Barbara Junior Orchestra 10/29/17 Vieja Valley School

Program Highlights

  • Weekly rehearsals led by conductor Marisa McLeod and instrument-specific sectionals led by local professional musicians.
  • Three public performances at venues throughout Santa Barbara.
  • Students receive two free tickets to every regular season Santa Barbara Symphony concert, and access to reduced priced tickets for additional family members.
  • Additional special educational opportunities like invitations to attend masterclasses, meet guest artists, and learn about various topics like composition and music theory.

Participant Guidelines

  • Rehearsal commitment is Sunday from 3-5pm. Students rehearse during the school year from September through May and must be on time for all rehearsals and performances.
  • Students are expected to further their musical education outside of rehearsals by:
    • Practicing their instruments and assigned material on a daily basis
    • Participating in their school music program
    • Attending Santa Barbara Symphony concerts
    • Taking private lessons is highly recommended
  • Families are expected to help students keep a regular practice schedule, and to volunteer for and participate in occasional social events and fundraising activities.
  • SAFETY NOTE: Student safety is our priority and we continue to closely monitor guidelines from the Public Health Department. Fall 2022 instruction will be conducted in-person and in accordance with current Santa Barbara County Public Health Department masking requirements as outlined HERE. The Santa Barbara Symphony requires that all students show proof of vaccination to participate in the 2022-2023 Youth Ensembles season.
SB Symphony - Youth Programs Community Concert 4/7/18 Page Youth Center

2021-2022 Audition Information

Auditions for our 2022-2023 season will be held in person on Sunday, June 12. Complete your online application form no later than Friday, June 3 to schedule your audition. Students auditioning for the Philharmonia Orchestra may choose to submit a video audition instead, due June 13. Please note that both new and returning students must audition. 

Our online application is open — please apply now, save the date and start practicing! We are growing and would love to have you join us.

2022-2023 Audition Requirements

  • Level: Intermediate.  Students in the Philharmonia Orchestra have two or more years of study on a string, wind, brass, or percussion instrument.
  • Scales and Arpeggios:
    • Strings: download repertoire according to your instrument and prepare all listed scales and arpeggios. All scales should be played with two notes slurred.
    • Woodwinds and brass: prepare a 2 octave major scale and arpeggio of your choice in any key up to four flats and four sharps AND a two-octave chromatic scale if possible.
    • Mallet percussion: play two scales and arpeggios of your choice.
  • Audition Excerpts: download and prepare audition excerpts according to your instrument.
  • A Solo Piece: choose and prepare a piece which best demonstrates both technical and musical skills on the instrument (no accompanist needed).
    • Percussionists: please prepare a solo piece or excerpt on the snare drum.



2022-2023 Tuition


As a non-profit, generous annual donations from Symphony supporters enable us to keep Tuition fees to a minimum. Need-based Scholarships are available and information regarding these can be found on the application form. Admitted musicians will not be turned away due to finances. If tuition is a challenge, please reach out to the Education Programs Manager at 805-898-1417.

Support this program!

Would you like to join our family of donors and support this program? Annual donations at any level have a big impact. They can fund scholarships, help pay our faculty, provide instruments and more! 

Santa Barbara Junior Orchestra 10/29/17 Vieja Valley School
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